The Music Collection of Thomas Baker of Farnham, Surrey

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Vol. 44


No. 1


Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle

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Thomas Baker’s music collection is part of the special collections of the Music Library at Western University, Ontario. Thomas Baker (1719/20–94) lived mainly in Farnham, southwest of London, England, in the County of Surrey. His music collection remained largely intact, which is unusual for the library of an eighteenth-century man who lived in a small town in rural England. The collection at Western consists of 90 separate pieces of music, collections of music, and books of music theory, plus six manuscripts; an inventory of the collection illustrates the variety of musical forms that he collected. His purchase of an organ leads us to conclude that he played the organ and possibly other keyboard instruments; about 25% of his collection is for keyboard. However, he was also interested in a variety of other musical forms, either as a performer or as a collector. From the surviving information, we can create a basic portrait of Baker and his music collection, even if we can draw no definite conclusions about how it was used or if he was merely a collector, or also a performer or an organizer of concerts.


The author would like to thank Dr Don Neville, Mrs Jean Parratt, Lisa Rae Philpott and the staff of the Hampshire Record Office and the Museum of Farnham for their help with research for this article; she would also like to thank the librarians and staff of Western Libraries for access to Thomas Baker’s music collection and permission to photograph the scores. 1 The Music Collection of an Eighteenth-Century Gentleman (Tunbridge Wells, 1985), 1. 2 Catalogue of Music in the Thomas Baker Collection, Hampshire Record Office, Winchester. Compiled by Richard Andrewes, with the assistance of Lady Jeans and Neil Petersen (1985).

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