Contents and Arrangement

THE WEEPING WILLOW a ballad written by Mrs. Robinson, composed with an accompaniment for the piano forte …, circa 1800

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Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The younger Robert Thorp, whose collection this must have been – even if part of it could have been formed by his father – did not go to either Oxford or Cambridge (he does not appear in either Foster or Venn), but became an attorney in Alnwick, Northumberland. This is evident from the group of business papers (see the last item in the short catalogue which follows) which accompany the music collection. Although he followed a traditional profession, it is however quite clear that his passion was music. It seems that the violin was his instrument: where any of the music here is for one instrument, it is nearly always the violin part that is here. The present collection shows much sign of use, not only in the occasionally poor condition of the books, but in their arrangement: in several cases, parts for various instruments are bound separately, so that the first violin has several pieces bound in one volume, and the second violin or cello has the corresponding parts for the same pieces bound in another volume. One can thus imagine that Thorp had a small group of friends in Alnwick with whom – a little like the Rev. Septimus Harding in Barchester, perhaps – he passed the Northumberland evenings in making music. Because the collection was put to practical use, I very much doubt if it was formed with an eye to rarity – yet several of the pieces are very uncommon and are not found in great musical collections such as those of the British Library, Bodleian and Harvard. However, the most interesting and significant feature of the collection is surely the fact that it was formed by a single man in Northumberland two hundred years ago, and that the core of it has survived to this day.


London, printed & sold by T. Preston, 97 Strand.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No part of the collection was separated at the time of processing.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Photocopies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.

Credit this material:

THE WEEPING WILLOW a ballad written by Mrs. Robinson, composed with an accompaniment for the piano forte …; Robert Thorp of Alnwick Collection of Printed and Manuscript Music, RBD3, Rare Book Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
Firestone Library (ex): Box F-000069

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