Collection Description

Collection name The Wodehouse
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Description The Wodehouse, near Wombourne, Staffordshire, is best known for the sheet music and instrument collections of Sir Samuel Hellier (1736-1784), later augmented by Thomas Shaw-Hellier (1883-1893).

The sheet music collection, comprising approximately 900 mostly eighteenth-century items, notably includes many orchestral works with parts, often in manuscript. Representative composers include Corelli, Handel, Boyce, and Arne, while rarer items such as a number of Antonio Benegger horn concertos and a unique set of parts for Giovanni Chinzer’s op. 9 symphonies also exist. Later, nineteenth-century additions by Thomas Shaw-Hellier include chamber and military band music. The collection is now housed at the music library of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and is fully catalogued in Ian Ledsham, ‘Catalogue of the Shaw-Hellier collection’ (Abingdon : Routledge, 1999).

The instruments of the collection come from all sections of the orchestra, and were originally purchased by Samuel Hellier in London and shipped to the Wodehouse, along with Hellier’s instructions regarding how it should be played and whom among his servants he thought should play it. While the collection has suffered some losses - notably the Hellier Stradivarius - the remaining 50 or so instruments are held at The University of Edinburgh, and listed on their website.

The only remaining musical items at the Wodehouse today are a collection of 165 letters which Samuel Hellier wrote to his servant, John Rogers. These date between 1766 and 1784, and almost all of these contain references to music.

Jonathan Frank, June 2020

Printed music
Manuscript music
Private papers/diaries/letters
Date range -
Associated People and Organisations Hellier, Samuel - Shaw-Hellier, T B - Corelli, Arcangelo - Handel, George Frideric - Boyce, William - Arne, Thomas - Antonio Benegger - Giovanni Chinzer - John Rogers -
Associated Places University of Edinburgh University of Birmingham
Associated Times 18th Century 19th Century
Associated Content Orchestral music Instrumental music Military music
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The Wodehouse

2 Wodehouse Lane Wombourne Wolverhampton WV5 9BW Open Map
Building Information Grade 2 listed country house near Wombourne.
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