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1. an annotated transcription of two 18th-century shelf-lists,
Archives 1717 and 'Dowding'

John Milsom

This page assumes some familiarity with the history of the Christ Church music collections, and the resources that have been used to research them. Before reading it, visitors may find it helpful to consult the summary of information about provenance history.

This is the first of two projected web-pages, which between them will attempt to identify and locate all the items of music and music theory donated to Christ Church by Henry Aldrich on his death in 1710. The present page transcribes (with annotations) the musical items included in two shelf-lists compiled at Christ Church shortly after the bequest was received; most if not all of these items appear to derive from Aldrich. The projected second page, to be posted at a later date, will list further items that probably reached Christ Church from Aldrich, but which cannot be matched against entries in the two shelf-lists transcribed here.

At the time when these lists were compiled, the music collections were shelved in the college's Old Library in the cloisters, a room that has since been converted to other uses; the original shelves do not survive. The first list, Archives 1717, makes no mention of Aldrich or his bequest; instead it is entitled 'A Catalogue of the Books contain'd in the Archives' (inscription on the cover), and headed 'Liber Ædis Christi AD. 1717' (f. 1). Nevertheless, some of its contents are unmistakably of Aldrich provenance, and none is known to have been in the library at Christ Church before Aldrich's death. The second shelf-list, cited below as 'Dowding', is based upon the first, and gives fuller information about the musical contents, but omits most works of music theory. It claims to be a 'Catalogue of Music in Dr Aldrich's Collection at Christ Church College Oxon, extracted from the General Catalogue of his Books, Prints &c [= Archives 1717], with some further description of some of the Music' (f. 1); however, it is impossible to know whether the claim specifically to encompass 'Dr Aldrich's Collection' has authority, or merely assumes Aldrich provenance for all the music listed in Archives 1717.

Several hands contributed to the early layers of Archives1717; none has been identified. Many of the entries appear to have been generated collaboratively by two people working together, one orally describing the item in hand, the other writing down the details as best he understood them - hence some of the more exotic spellings of composers' names, such as 'Phoggia' (for 'Foggia'; item F14) and 'Faravosco' (for 'Ferrabosco'; item H30). The 'Dowding' cataloguer, conversely, appears to have had both an interest in and some understanding of music, and his focus upon notated music-sources (omitting most works of music theory) may suggest that he was a performing musician. It remains unknown whether or not the 'Dowding' catalogue was made expressly for Christ Church, or whether it was a private initiative, subsequently donated to or acquired by the library. In the transcription below - which is organized by shelfmark (as are Archives 1717 and Dowding) - priority is given to the entries in Archives 1717; these are followed by any portions of Dowding's entries that add useful supplementary information.

During the later 18th and the 19th centuries, various hands annotated Archives 1717 and Dowding. Occasionally they added information that further helps to identify an item; sometimes they report a change of shelfmark, most often when gathering together partbooks from sets that had previously been scattered over different locations; and they record missing items. In the transcription below, these annotations have been retained, either enclosed in <angle brackets> or explained in words. The transcription also makes occasional reference to the later and independently researched shelf-list by Burney (1778), and to Malchair's catalogue (1787), both of which were compiled after the music collections had been reshelved within the New Library at Christ Church (c.1763). Despite that move, many items remained broadly in their earlier shelf-sequence, and there are times when entries in Burney or Malchair firmly identify items that are only ambiguously described in Archives 1717 or Dowding.

Some of the entries in Archives 1717 and Dowding have been annotated as being 'wanting'. A few of those items may now be bound into tract volumes; for an example, see position H38 below. Others items are genuinely missing from Christ Church; several can be located today in other collections, principally the British Library. For a general discussion of the missing items, see the chapter on 'Lost Music' in W. G. Hiscock's A Christ Church Miscellany (Oxford, 1946).

The transcription below omits all entries for items that were subsequently added to Archives 1717 and Dowding by Richard Hind, Librarian of Christ Church between 1748 and 1753. These additions include items that derive not only from Aldrich and Goodson, but also from elsewhere. Some of them reveal or imply their origins from outward signs, but the rest must now be reckoned to be of uncertain or unknown provenance. Those that are securely of Aldrich provenance will be included in the projected second Aldrich web-page, to be posted at a later date.

1. Shelves A-D
2. Shelves E-F
3. Shelves G-H
4. Shelves I-L
5. Shelves M-N
6. Shelves O-Q

A separate list is now available of Henry Aldrich's autograph music manuscripts at Christ Church. The page includes a supplementary list of other sources at Christ Church that contain compositions and adaptations by Aldrich, or works that are spuriously attributed to him.