Collection Description

Collection name Kedleston Hall
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Description Kedleston Hall has always been home to the Curzon family, who have lived in the Kedleston area since at least 1297. The present Hall is eighteenth-century, and its collections are wholly indigenous.

The collection of approximately 125 items of sheet music is mostly presented in neatly-bound volumes, and most items have ownership markings (inscriptions or bookplates) from various members of the Curzon family. Sir Nathaniel Curzon (1726-1804), who commissioned the building of the present Kedleston Hall, was evidently musical, and the collection contains a large amount of harpsichord music (original works and transcriptions) bearing his bookplate, as well as smaller selections of songs, plays with music, and vocal ensemble music, all dating from the mid-eighteenth century. The Hall also retains a manuscript music book in Sir Nathaniel’s hand. The second-largest contributor to the music collection is Sophia Curzon née Holden (1803-1890), who married Sir Nathaniel’s grandson Alfred (1801-1850) in 1825. Her music is represented by a number of bound volumes of piano music, dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century. The remainder of the printed music consists of hymns, songs, and piano music, dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Other family members’ names to be found in inscriptions include Juliana Curzon (1773-1835), whose manuscript music notebook remains at Kedleston Hall; George Nathaniel Curzon (1859-1925); and Victoria Curzon (1870-1906).

The aforementioned George Nathaniel Curzon served as Viceroy of India from 1899-1905, during which time he commissioned Charles Villiers Stanford to compose a ceremonial fanfare for the Imperial Coronation Durbar of 1903. The resultant work, “A flourish for trumpets”, is represented in the collection by a 3rd trumpet part, as well as a trumpet (accompanied by ceremonial trumpet flag) used for the occasion. Whether the trumpet part is manuscript or printed is as yet undetermined.

Amongst the small number of books on music at Kedleston Hall are Charles Burney’s The present state of music in France and Italy (1771); John Aikin’s Essays on song-writing (1772); Stendhal’s The lives of Haydn and Mozart (1818); and John Morley’s biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1873).

The instruments in the collection consist of a Burkat Shudi double-manual harpsichord (1758); a John Snetzler chamber organ (1761), designed by Robert Adam; a pair of timpani from approximately 1770; and a small collection of Asian instruments, including two Tibetan trumpets (“rag dun”), a Tibetan silver clarinet (“shawm”), a Burmese metallophone (“than pattala”), a Japanese gong (“shoko”) and an Indian ceremonial horn.

Within the collection of portraits is an Arthur Devis oil painting of 1754 depicting Sir Nathaniel and Lady Caroline Curzon (1733-1812). Lady Caroline is pictured playing a mandolin.

Kedleston Hall retains many of Robert Adam and George Richardson’s original architectural drawings, including several for the Music Room. These include some rejected designs for the organ case.

All items are listed on Sheet music is catalogued on Jisc Library Hub Discover, and the instruments appear on The artworks may be viewed on

More information about the organ may be found in Alan Barnes, ‘The eighteenth-century chamber organ in Kedleston Hall Derbyshire’ (Atherstone : Richard Alan, 1990)

Jonathan Frank, July 2020

Printed music
Manuscript music
Date range -
Associated People and Organisations Sir Nathaniel Curzon 1726 - 1804 Sophia Curzon 1803 - 1890 Juliana Curzon 1773 - 1835 George Nathaniel Curzon 1859 - 1925 Victoria Curzon 1870 - 1906 Stanford, Charles Villiers - Burney, Charles - John Aikin - Stendhal - Haydn, Joseph - Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - John Morley - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Shudi, Berkat - Snetzler, John - Robert Adam - Arthur Devis - Lady Caroline Curzon 1733 - 1812 George Richardson -
Associated Places
Associated Times 18th Century 19th Century 20th Century
Associated Content Songs Vocal music Piano music Religious music Music history and theory Biography Song writing Harpsichord Organ Harpsichord music
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National Trust, Kedleston Hall

near Quarndon Derby DE22 5JH Open Map
Building Information Spectacular eighteenth-century mansion with Adam interiors and parkland.
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