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Royal Music Library - catalogues and further reading

A complete catalogue of the Royal Music Library was published under the editorship of William Barclay Squire in the 1920s. Before then, there had been no systematic catalogue of the collection. Squire was the Music Librarian of the British Museum from 1885 until his retirement in 1920, and had been responsible for recommending the deposit of the Library in the Museum in 1911. Immediately following his retirement he began work on the cataloguing of the Royal Music Library, and the first volume, describing the Handel manuscripts, was published in 1927, the year of his death. The cataloguing of the remaining portions of the Library was completed within the next two years. An updated version of this catalogue is now available on the Manuscripts Catalogue.

Portrait of William Barclay Squire, by William Strang RA

Portrait of William Barclay Squire, by William Strang RA; 1904. From a copy in the British Library's Music Collections. Copyright © The British Library Board

W. B. Squire, Catalogue of the King's Music Library, I, The Handel Manuscripts (London, 1927); II, The Miscellaneous Manuscripts, by H. Andrews (1929); III, Printed Music and Musical Literature (1929)

A. H. King, 'English Royal Music-lovers and their Library, 1600-1900', The Musical Times, xcix (1958), 311

A. H. King, 'The Royal Music Library: Some Account of its Provenance and Associations', The Book Collector, vii (1958), 241-252

A. H. King, 'The Royal Music Library in the British Museum', in Beiträge zur Musikdocumentation: Franz Grasberger zum 60. Geburtstag (Tutzing, 1975), 193-201

P. Daub, 'Queen Caroline of England's Music Library' in Music Publishing and Collecting: Essays in Honor of Donald W. Krummel (Urbana, Illinois, 1994), 131-165


Dr Nicolas Bell
Music Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7772
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7751