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Previous exhibitions

25 January to 4 June 2005
(closed 25-28 March inclusive)

Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-16.30. Sunday closed.
ADMISSION FREE

 

 
A decoration from the État actuel de la musique du Roi (Paris, 1773), a guide to the musical entertainments of the French capital
A decoration from the État actuel de la musique du Roi (Paris, 1773), a guide to the musical entertainments of the French capital

The Performing Arts

Music and drama have long had a place in the communal life of the University: the earliest records of minstrelsy and plays in the colleges date from the fourteenth century. Although no works on these subjects are found in the Library’s early-fifteenth-century catalogue, its collections since then have expanded to include distinguished holdings relating to both music and the theatre. These have been popular fields for donations made by or through the Friends, in the form of musical scores, richly-illustrated books, and archival and manuscript collections. Performing arts material acquired via the Friends ranges from a seventeenth-century edition of Italian pastoral plays, through a set of printed ballads sung by Charles Dibdin at Ranelagh, to autograph letters of the Cambridge composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Items on display

Marco Antonio Ferretti (fl. seventeenth century), Mirinda, favola pastorale, Venice, 1612 (F161.c.2.5); Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), The ballads sung by Mr Dibdin this evening at Ranelagh, London, [1770] (MRA.290.75.133); Ted Hughes (1930-1998), letter to the Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature, Hebden Bridge, 2 June 1963 (from MS RSL); Pierce Egan (1772-1849), The life of an actor, London, 1825 (Syn.5.82.77); Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), Psyché, tragédie, Paris, 1678 (MR463.c.65.4); Jean-Baptiste Moreau (1656-1733), Intermèdes en musique de la tragédie d’Esther, Paris, 1696 (MR260.b.65.702); Christian Joseph Lidarti (1730-after 1793), ‘Ester, oratorio…’, Pisa, 1774 (MS Add. 9467). View exhibit captions.

Actors taking refreshment between performances at Bartholomew Fair, a plate from The life of an actor by Pierce Egan (London, 1825)
Actors taking refreshment between performances at Bartholomew Fair, a plate from The life of an actor by Pierce Egan (London, 1825)