Additional Manuscripts: Gordon Bottomley Musical manuscripts
Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948)
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Reference code: GB-0033-ADD 815
Title: Additional Manuscripts: Gordon Bottomley Musical manuscripts
Dates of creation: 1919-1946
Extent: 14 items
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Origination: items gathered in accordance with the current collecting policy of the University Library.
Language: English

Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948)

Gordon Bottomley was born at Keighley and began his working life as a bank clerk, but the development of a recurring tubercular illness forced him to give up normal employment and he retired to Silverdale in Lancashire, where he devoted the rest of his life to literary activity. His first publication was the collection of poems The mickle drede (Kendal, 1896), and he went on to write many poems and plays; his collection Poems of thirty years was published in 1926. Although he lived a secluded life he developed a large circle of correspondents and his works became widely known, if not uniformly appreciated; he received three honorary degrees, one of which was a D.Litt. awarded by Durham in 1940.


These manuscripts largely comprise short songs or choral pieces, some (but not all) settings of poems by Bottomley. The composers are not on the whole men who have made a significant impression on 20th century musical life, although they do include Julius Harrison (1885-1963) and Sir George Henschel (1850-1934) of whom further details can be found in Grove's dictionary. Also noteworthy is a letter from Rutland Boughton (1878-1960).

Accession details

Bottomley bequeathed a substantial collection of printed music and books about music to Durham University when died in 1948, and these manuscripts were part of the bequest.

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Summary catalogue of Additional Manuscripts


Musical works
Add. MSS. 815/1a   9 July 1945
The wild huntsman. Fantasia for male voice choirs (unaccompanied), based on Weber's melody for Körner's poem “Lutzow's Wilde Jagd”. The music by Julius Harrison, the poem adapted by Gordon Bottomley. Full score, with piano accompaniment (for rehearsal).
Presumably Harrison's autograph ms, signed at end “J H July 9th 1945”.
Size: 300 x 235 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/1b & 1c   July 1945
2 draft versions of 815/1a, incoporating corrections of Bottomley's translation of Körner's poem, in Bottomley's hand. The first of these versions, dated at end 1. vii. 45 is the one used in the musical setting.
Size: 202 x 153 mm and 228 x 177 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/2   11 October 1945
The dark forest. Part song for S.A.T.B. Poem by Edward Thomas, music by Julius Harrison. Dedicated to T.B. Lawrence and the Fleet Street Choir.
Full score with piano accompaniment (for rehearsal). Presumably Harrison's autograph ms., signed at end “J H 11: x : 1945” (published by W. Rogers, 1947 [BBC music catalogue]).
Size: 301 x 234 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/3a   [1930s]
Dawn. Setting for soprano and piano by Horace Keats, of Bottomley's poem “Dawn”.
Size: 317 x 247 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/3b   25 January 1937
A.l.s. from Horace Keats to Bottomley, from Mosman, New South Wales, seeking his approval.
Size: 229 x 175 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/4a   1 July 1943
Goneril's lullaby. Setting for soprano and piano by Cyril Lee of Bottomley's poem “Goneril's lullaby”, dated at head 1.7.43.
Size: 303 x 238 mm
Add. MSS. 815/4b   3 September 1943
A.l.s. from Lee to Bottomley, from Sevenoaks, Kent, seeking his approval.
Size: 205 x 190 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/5   17 June 1922
She comes not. Setting for soprano and piano br Sir George Henschel of Herbert Trench's poem “She comes not”.
Presumably Henschel's autograph ms., signed at end “G H June 17 1922” (published by Augener (BBC music catalogue).
Size: 356 x 262 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/6   7 October 1919
The ploughman. A song for voice with pianoforte accompaniment, words by Gordon Bottomley, music by Isaac Levine. Chicago, Oct 7, 1919.
Levine's autograph ms., endorsed at head “To Mr Gordon Bottomley with the best wishes of Isaac Levine”.
Size: 350 x 270 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/7   n.d.
The year's at the spring. Song from “Pippa passes”, by Robert Browning, set to music [for soprano and piano] by Frank Davidson. Dedicated to my friend, W D Ross.
Size: 315 x 240 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/8   n.d.
In a gondola. Poem by Robert Browning set to music for baritone and pianoforte by Frank Davidson. Dedicated to W D Ross.
Size: 315 x 240 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/9   8 September 1946
Printed advertisement, with programme, for a song recital given by Elisabeth Schumann and Hubert Greenslade at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon. Autographed by Elisabeth Schumann.
Size: 252 x 190 mm.
Add. MSS. 815/10   4 January 1931
A.l.s. from Rutland Boughton, Kilcote, Newent, Glos. to Bottomley, concerning an unpublished piece by Boughton referred to by Bottomley in a review in The gramophone.
Size: 226 x 172 mm.