Graduate Research Colloquium: Dr Caroline Lesemann-Elliott

Blount Collection: Early modern music book as witness to kinship building, processes for constructing gender/racial/religious identities, and cross-cultural transfer

Free to attend, no registration required.

This paper presents the results of a recent study of a collection of 17 music manuscripts from the music library of the Blounts of Mapledurham, a family of English Catholic gentry based just outside of Reading, Berkshire. Mostly dating from the late 17th to the mid 18th centuries, these manuscripts were acquired by the Bodleian library from the family’s estate in the early 1980s. They were initially assessed on acquisition by the late Margaret Crum, who produced a preliminary catalogue of the manuscripts. The collection has since received little other attention, beyond very brief mention in an article by Curtis Price and William Rasmussen.

Caroline Lesemann-Elliott is a music historian specialising in early modern music cultures. This past summer, they attained a doctorate at Royal Holloway, with a thesis focused on music at exiled english convents in the 17th and early 18th centuries. This past autumn, they undertook a visiting fellowship in musicology at the Bodleian libraries, with a project focused on the Blount family music collection (the results of which are the subject of this paper). Other past research endeavours include a stint as research assistant on pilot iterations of the ‘Music, Heritage, and Place’ project at Royal Holloway, and co-investigator on the ‘Doors, Dwellings, and Devotion’ project, the latter of which involved a filmed enactment of a 12th century liturgical rite for the enclosure of anchorite in St Mary’s, Iffley. They currently direct the Basilinda Consort, a new early music ensemble dedicated to exploring the musical lives of English Christian women religious.

About the series:

The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Stephanie Shon and Francis Bertschinger organise the series. Presentations are followed by discussion and a drinks reception. Students, staff and the general public are warmly encouraged to attend, in person or online. Free and open to all.