Missing! The Cook’s Oracle!

Kitchiner cookbook dedication

Since my kitchen is littered with (most of) the ingredients for our Christmas cake, it seems appropriate to devote a short post to a significant publication from 1817 (yes, my new favourite year!) – Dr William Kitchiner’s The Cook’s Oracle. We’ve encountered Dr Kitchiner before, on account of his patriotic and sea song books. They weren’t particularly well-received.

Dr Kitchiner had other interests, though, and one was cookery and nutrition. He hoped that his cookbook would provide good, solid nutritional guidelines. Wikipedia reports that he was an exceptional cook, and his was a household name. I haven’t gone so far as to check this out, but I’ve found you a simple suet pudding to try!

You can read the ENTIRE book online, if you’re so inclined:-

Apicius Redivivus: Or, The Cook’s Oracle

(The 2nd edition even begins with an Anacreontic Song, if you please, combining his passions for music and food.)

Whilst checking the King’s Inns guardbooks for national songbooks, I naturally looked for Kitchiner, though I didn’t really imagine there would be much appetite for English national songs. I was unsurprised to find it absent from the catalogue – but there was clearly an appetite for Apicius Redivivus! There it was, in the guardbook under Kitchiner’s name. Amongst the “literature” section, too.

And there it wasn’t on the shelves. (Someone kindly checked for me!) Who borrowed the cookbook and didn’t return it? Or misshelved it? Or dropped it in the broth, or used it until it fell to bits? I have a good imagination, but maybe I should stick to hard facts. And, tempting as it is to try the recipes straight away, I should probably bake our own Christmas cake first!


Yes, Librarians Sometimes Stamp Books … Always Have Done (a historical note)


Ask any librarian: the number of, “I guess you must stamp a lot of books” jokes are nearly as many as “How lovely to spend all your time reading …”.  They drive us insane!

However, when it comes to library history, book-stamps become almost interesting, because the use of one library property stamp or another may shed light on when a book came into the library.  So you begin to see where I’m coming from, when I say that I requested photographs of bindings and any stamps or ownership marks in the music and minstrelsy I’d traced at King’s Inns.

Unfortunately, whilst Edinburgh and St Andrews University Libraries stamped their textbooks if they were “From Stationers’ Hall”, this wasn’t always the case with music – certainly not in St Andrews, and apparently not generally in Edinburgh – and it turned out not to be the case at all in King’s Inns!

Unless a stamp actually SAYS that the book came from Stationers’ Hall, then its only use for book detectives is in the possibility of linking particular stamps with particular timespans.  In King’s Inns, a handful of books yielded three different stamps, but only one bore a date – 1955 – and that just means it was processed in some way at that time. It doesn’t tell us when the book came into the library.  Similarly, whilst I was looking for evidence of library bindings or provenance notes, there wasn’t really enough to go on.  And I say that because we don’t actually know if these items came by the Stationers’ Hall route, where unbound books were quite common, or by nineteenth century donation.

Crosby – The Irish Musical Repository. Pictures all courtesy of King’s Inns Library.

What we do know, however, is that the majority of this little batch of King’s Inns minstrelsy, whether poetry or with music, was classed in the “Literary” section.  One can only conclude that these were for recreational use – I like the mental picture of a Georgian or Victorian lawyer sitting by his fireside with his feet up, and a copy of Motherwell’s Minstrelsy, Crosby’s The Irish Musical Repository (the spine title is just, “Crosby’s Irish Songs”, in what looks like a twentieth century binding) , Bunting’s A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, or Ritson’s A Select Collection of English Songs (2nd edition, 1813) on his lap.  Some are graced with charming engravings, whilst Clementi’s London edition of the Bunting collection has a particularly nice title-page.  This last title was held by almost every legal deposit library, so there’s more chance of that one being a legal deposit arrival, especially since one would have expected the original Irish edition to be a more likely holding than a later, English one. However, even in this case, we cannot say for sure that it arrived by this route.  Donations to the library were very common in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  At the end of the day, the minstrelsy material is probably more of interest as indicative of nineteenth-century readers’ leisure reading, than as evidence of traffic from Mr Greenhill and the network of London legal deposit agents!

My thanks to the time-consuming and painstaking work of staff at King’s Inns Libraries for taking these photographs for me.

Footnote: There was one pedagogical music item which seems to have been missing at least since the 1990s, but possibly a century or more longer: Charles Mason’s, The Rhythm, or, Times of Musical Compositions Explained and Reduced…  a skinny score, it could have fallen victim to any number of fates, but it means we couldn’t examine it for library stamps or indeed anything else!  Whether misshelved, bound in a bigger volume, or unreturned, let’s hope someone benefited from it first, and that one of the Dublin lawyers or their families gained a suitable understanding of musical rhythm and times!

Once Upon a Year: 1817

Kings’ Inns guardbook catalogue

A few weeks ago, I had what was effectively a week-long fieldtrip.  Well, two short ones – first to Dublin, then to London.  I’ve already blogged about the trips to King’s Inns and Trinity College Libraries, where  I was hunting down national songbooks – neither expecting to find, nor actually finding, very many Georgian-era music scores or textbooks, but chancing across a few surprises, and also discovering that balladry – poetry – was rather more popular.  I should explain that collecting policies in Trinity at that time are known to have precluded much music being kept, whilst one would not perhaps expect any music to turn up in a law library unless it was donated!- but there was still a literary interest in the words of national ballads, in both institutions.

Anyway, back I flew to Glasgow, did a day’s work and an evening rehearsal, then got the overnight sleeper to London so that I could visit Stationers’ Hall, meet my music librarian opposite number at the British Library, and speak at the English Folk Dance and Song Society Conference.

I hadn’t had the opportunity to visit Stationers’ Hall before.  It’s very grand – used as a venue for conferences and weddings – but I was there to visit the archivist, and to have my first look at one of the Georgian era registers.

Faced with the choice of many years’ Stationers’ Hall registers, I had to make a choice.  My time was limited, and there was no hope of looking at more than one or two volumes.  I made my choice based on the fact that Kassler’s Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall lists full entries from 1710 to 1810, but the appendix (based on William Hawes’ summary listing for 1810-1818) gives much less information – most noticeably, no publication details and no library locations.  If I was going to spend a few hours looking at anything, I would look at a volume from the later era, to see how easy it was to spot music entries, and to get a bit more information about anything I found. 


I was also curious to see how long it would take to glean this information.  I wondered about actually transcribing the entries, but once I saw them, I realised that this was going to get me a limited amount of information with which I could do very little – I’d get more by taking a broad sweep.  Accordingly, I took my own copy of Kassler, and annotated the entries from June 27, 1817 to June 24, 1818 – this was a full year from the start of one of the register volumes, and also conveniently encompassed some royal events that I already knew were memorialised in song – the deaths first of Princess Charlotte of Wales in 1817, and then of her grandmother Queen Charlotte the following year.  I was able to note the publishers, look out for anything surrounding these events that I had not yet spotted in Hawes’ abbreviated listing, and I also spotted another royal event – Queen Charlotte’s visit to Bath, literally a couple of days before her grand-daughter died in childbirth.  Seeing the music in the context of all the other entries showed me just how much literature proliferated to commemorate the deaths in particular – elegies, other poems, a multitude of published sermons … if you remember the outpourings of grief when Diana, Princess of Wales died, then you can imagine similar outpourings back in 1817-18, using the media that was available at the time.

Stationers’ Hall

But an equally interesting discovery was the realisation that Mr Greenhill the warehouse keeper also recorded how many copies of any particular title were handed in.  Chappell always handed in just one copy, whether or not the legislation required eleven.  One assumes that the libraries requested his works from the lists that Greenhill sent them, because (although I’ve only checked a handful of titles from June to early July so far) they did actually get the music, presumably collected via agents rather than directly from Greenhill at Stationers’ Hall.  Other publishers might hand in one copy, or the full eleven, and I begin to think that the smaller publishers or self-publishers might have tended to hand in the latter. 

Here’s the challenge – a whole year’s music is quite a lot of music!  From the little I’ve checked so far, the libraries that I expected to have a lot of the registered music, had nearly all of it.  Those that I thought would have less, do indeed seem to have less.  But – I’ve only checked in Copac.  Until we check the “not catalogued online” holdings, we will not have the full picture.  So the next challenge is  a logistical one: how to get the checking done!  This might require another grant application.  Certainly, it requires more conversation with network members!

I’m toying with the idea of creating a Mendeley bibliography of the whole year’s output.  It’s a lot of work, but it might help at a later stage in the project: a decent bibliographic listing will have so much more information, even if a parallel Excel spreadsheet offers different benefits by way of comparing library holdings.

* Incidentally, the idea of taking one year and researching its story has already been done, albeit not in musical terms: a couple of years ago, Turtle Bunbury published 1847: A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery  – so when I found out about it last week, I ordered a copy.  I’m really looking forward to reading it.  But finding out that someone else has not only had the same idea as me, but published it, doesn’t mean there isn’t mileage in exploring 1817.  Indeed, I would argue it just goes to show that the idea is a good one!

And What Next?

The next challenge, of course, is what to do with the data.  At the very least, it would indicate what survives for one notable year.  And there are other questions, too:-

  • Is there a pattern as to which publishers deposited single or multiple copies?
  • Is there a pattern as to what was more likely to be retained, in those libraries that retained less?
  • Out of interest, how much of what was submitted, was composed by women?
  • How many compositions/publications were  prompted by significant occasions of whatever kind?
  • Would anyone be interested in a performance opportunity based on the output of that particular year? Or in facilitating a workshop locally?
  • If we then took another year later in the century – possibly after the Queen Anne copyright act had been superceded – could we compare repertoire patterns, perhaps also comparing what survived in Oxford and Cambridge, or looking for pedagogical material?
  • Lastly , of course, there is the possibility of creating further bibliographical listings.  At the moment, the Adam Matthews’ digital offering is beyond our means.  It offers digital images, not full-text searching capabilities, but further grant funding might make it possible to create listings using the digital substitute, rather than having to travel to London to consult the registers themselves.

There’s a lot to think about, isn’t there?  As always, all comments and suggestions are very welcome!

Copyright & Performance

harvard-205539_1920 free download CCA Creative Commons, PixabayYou probably didn’t expect to find a link to the latest edition of the Harvard Gazette on this website!  Nonetheless, it contains an interview with Professor Derek Miller, author of a new book about copyright and performance rights from 1770-1911 – so there’s bound to be matter of interest to our networking project.

I haven’t yet got hold of the book itself, so I don’t know how much it focuses on European versus American copyright law, but I must confess I’m keen to find out.  It’s fascinating to learn more about the philosophy and the reasoning that led to legislation developing the way it did.

So, here’s the link:-

Jill Radsken (Harvard Staff Writer), ‘Lurking in your favourite song, the law: ‘, The Harvard Gazette, 30 November 2018.

And here’s the book citation:-

Derek Miller, Copyright and the Value of Performance, 1770–1911 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) ISBN 9781108425889.  Publisher’s link

And now I’ll add both to my Mendeley bibliography, pending the next time I update the network bibliography listing that appears as a separate page on this very blog.


The EAERN Network

I’ve been a member of the Eighteenth-Century Arts Education Research Network for the past couple of years.  Although I wasn’t able to attend the third and final Colloquium, I have followed with interest, so I thought I’d share the link to their latest blogpost here.  It summarises the day’s activities – and makes me wish I’d been there!!

Music Professors, Degrees and Curricula

Last week I shared some of my findings and thoughts about the absence of sheet-music at Trinity College Dublin in the early 19th century (see Literary Minstrelsy: the Books Trump the Scores!).  To be fair, there was neither music professor nor music department at Trinity in the Georgian era, so the absence of sheet-music probably barely caused a ripple!

Nonetheless, I provoked a little Twitter-storm of knowledge exchange on the subject of TCD music degrees, and I saved that conversation into a Twitter moment, in order to keep record of the thread: Minstrelsy, Music and Honorary Degrees. (2018-11-21)

Music received from Stationers' Hall 1859-1860
Music received from Stationers’ Hall 1859-1860

I was recommended a chapter contributed  by Lisa Parker to Paul Rodmell’s ‘Music and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, which I read with interest this morning.  Whilst the history of music education at the University of Dublin really took off after the Georgian era, I find it interesting to look ahead to see how things did ultimately develop.  As I mentioned last week, the earliest listings retained from Stationers’ Hall dated from 1859-60.

Parker’s chapter perhaps helps us understand why it took so long before there was much interest in curating music in the library, so I’ve extracted a timeline which I think you might find informative:-

  • 1612   TCD first awarded a Bachelor in Music degree – MusB
  • 1764   Appointment of the first music professor, Earl of Mornington, Garret Wesley (1735-81) – his role seemed to be in composing suitable pieces for TCD occasions.
  • 1774 Mornington resigned, and wasn’t replaced for 73 years!
  • 1827 John Smith, the man who would become the next professor some years later, received his MusD – a music doctorate.  This didn’t mean he had done the kind of intensive study that doctoral students do today!  There had been no requirement to be residential, no course of teaching and learning, and no thesis.
  • 1844-1846 – Robert Prescott Stewart, who would later become John Smith’s successor – became organist of the chapel, and then also conductor of the university choral society.
  • 1847 John Smith was appointed music professor. Opinion was divided about his expertise.  His only duties entailed assessing ‘submitted exercises’, but there’s also reference to a lecture.  He could teach private students but gave no ‘formal tuition’. There were still no student residency requirements, and only four music degrees (other than honorary ones) were awarded in his 14 years’ professorship.
  • 1851 only now did Smith get his doctoral robes (TWENTY-FOUR YEARS LATER – not impressive! David O’Shea informs me that the gowns were copied from the Oxford style of academic dress, since there weren’t actually gowns for music degrees at TCD prior to this).  Smith got these at the request of the choral society (not the university authorities) – and it looks as though Stewart received HIS robes at the same event, with the latter’s MusB and MusD exercises being performed.
  • 1861 Smith died.
  • 1862 Robert Prescott Stewart became professor, also remaining in the roles of University organist and conductor of the University of Dublin Choral Society His duties involved conducting the exams and presenting candidates at graduation, but he could also deliver public lectures if he wished, and could give private instruction to members of university.  Shortly after his election, introduced literary examinations, and introduced a requirement for music students to matriculate in a variety of arts subjects.  This was influential upon music degree arrangements at Oxford and Cambridge.)  That decade, requirements were tightened up and spelled out, as to what was needed in degree compositions.
  • 1871 Stewart’s duties were revised, and class lectures were required.  These could have been the public lectures he gave between 1871-77.
  • Parker notes that 97 music degrees were awarded to 63 candidates during the period 1862-1894.  It’s noteworthy that music degrees were often not regarded as being as rigorous as other kinds of degrees – and that they tended to be awarded to church musicians.  It would be interesting to see if this was reflected in the library stock, both of scores and texts, although I won’t let myself be distracted just now!

The above information is all from Parker’s chapter, which I’ll reference fully below.  Much of Parker’s chapter is about Stewart’s work on the syllabus, and then Ebeneezer Prout’s, so it’s about an era later than my main focus.  In an effort to remain focused, I skimmed these last pages, but at least I know they’re there if I need them.  (I’ve generally used 1836, the change of copyright and legal deposit legislation, as my cut-off date, but of course, legal deposit was still being made at a smaller number of universities, and Trinity College Dublin was one of them.)

TCD musicologist David O’Shea comments that librarian James Henthorn Todd was involved with music in the library collections around Smith’s time, so I need to refer to Peter Fox’s 2014 monograph about the Library to find out more in this regard.  (The book is sitting at home on my desk, demanding my attention, so this won’t be a hardship at all!)


Peter Fox, Trinity College Library Dublin : a history (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Lisa Parker, ‘The expansion and development of the music degree syllabus at Trinity College Dublin during the nineteenth century’, in Music and institutions in nineteenth-century Britain, ed. Paul Rodmell (Ashgate, 2012), pp.143-160

Imagine these Starlings were Scores

One of my more fanciful ideas about the legal deposit scores Claimed From Stationers Hall in the Georgian era, is the mental image of birds migrating – all those scores being registered at Stationers’ Hall and then disseminated around the country to the waiting libraries.  When I saw Scott Waby’s video footage of the Aberystwyth starlings, on Twitter today, I was reminded of this image!  Some ‘birds’ land and then take off again.  Some jostle for space.  They’re the scores that either didn’t get to their destination, or were dumped in an attic pending a decision as to whether they were allowed to stay.  Or were sold later. Okay, it’s fanciful!  Maybe I can’t do anything with the metaphor, research-wise.  But let me share the footage with you anyway – it’s beautifully filmed, and I did spend a year in Aberystwyth many decades ago as a library school postgrad, so I have a particular affection for the place.

The photographer, Scott Waby, is head of digitisation at the National Library of Wales.  I still have fond memories of many happy hours in NLS constructing a bibliography on Victorian education, as part of my postgraduate librarianship diploma!