Some time ago I blogged about Marion Scott, Haydn scholar and friend of Ivor Gurney. As has also been mentioned on this blog before, here at the UL we hold Marion Scott’s Haydn Collection. In fact it was Marion Scott who prompted the creation of our (then) new MRS class. A class that comprises “named” collections, collections that were donated by a specific person or group. Our MRS collections include collections as diverse as those of music enthusiast Frederick Booth, the Union Society of Cambridge University, writer and critic Hans Keller, and the violinist Alfredo Campoli.
Marion Scott was an astounding woman – violinist, musicologist, critic, composer and poet. She was also a fervent advocate for the rights of women, and was a founder member of the Society of Women Musicians. Scott was all too aware of the problems women faced trying to get professional employment in the early twentieth-century as musicians, and the Society was set up to help women struggling to gain a place within the music trade. It also, rather unusually, encouraged men to come to its meetings and join the Society.
From 1909 onwards, Scott began to write occasional articles on music for London newspapers, and by the 1930s her musical career was largely dedicated to writing about music along with musical research. She became known as one of the foremost Haydn scholars of her day. This was perhaps a little unexpected as she would recall that while learning piano as a child, she resented the fact that she was forced to learn Haydn by her piano teacher, who was determined that she should study music in a chronological order, hence Haydn before Mozart, who was her hero.
The collection that is now at the UL consists of:
…..the breast pin and case which once belonged to Joseph Haydn, the musician, my collection of editions of Joseph Haydn’s music including those published by myself…..all my books on Joseph Haydn, pictures of Joseph Haydn and all other relics of or relating to that great musician his life or works (but excluding any manuscripts of my own writing unpublished at the date of my death)…
There are several hundred items in the collection, many first editions, and a number of late 19th and early 20th century working editions. Most of the original editions are quite rare. Marion Scott had been working on a biography of Haydn at the time of her death, and had amassed a large research library.
Unexpected items within the collection include pictures, medals and other mementos of Haydn. The little breast pin has been independently examined (by the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford) – the banded agate with a lyre design is believed to date from the late Republican or Augustan era (1st century BC). It was probably originally from Northern Italy. Although it’s not known how Haydn acquired it there are a large number of gems from this area in Vienna, so that is presumably where it was purchased and probably made into a pin. The line of provenance from Haydn to Marion Scott is very clear having been presented by Haydn to his pupil, the composer Sigismund von Neukomm. It was gifted by Neukomm to Mrs. Lloyd of Dublin, who then presented it to the composer, Sir Robert Stewart, from whom it was acquired by Marion Scott.
Along with a number of other contemporary portraits there are also a few early programmes, including this one. A tantalising concert which includes the first act of The Creation along with “Grand miscellaneous acts” featuring Madame Catalani singing “Rule Britannia” (an odd juxtaposition). A packed audience is expected – “The orchestra is entirely new. And decorated to correspond with the proscenium of the theatre…In consequence of the great overflow, the Theatrical Orchestra will in future be added to the PIT.”
The Marion Scott Haydn Collection is a treasure trove of Haydn memorabilia, and a fitting tribute to an extraordinary woman.