GPP Coffee Break

Join Georgian Papers Programme scholar Angel-Luke O’Donnell for an online version of the popular GPP Coffee Break series at King’s College London.

Join us on May 24, 2022, at 3:00 pm BST (10:00 am ET) for a presentation by Georgian Papers Programme Fellow Mary-Jannet Leith (University of Southampton) titled “‘Then I play’d upon the Harpsichord’: Music in the Private Lives of George III and Queen Charlotte.”

The paper offers a work-in-progress update on Dr. Leith’s 2021 GPP Fellowship research, which explores the various ways George III and Queen Charlotte engaged with music in their private, domestic lives. Using the wealth of materials available in the digitised Georgian Papers catalogue (private correspondence, diaries, accounts, and miscellaneous papers of members of both royals), together with collections held at the British Library, the paper will shed light on their personal relationships with music. In Queen Charlotte’s diaries, she often records her own harpsichord practice, musical evenings at home with friends, as well as recreational attendance of the ‘Ancient Concerts’ and the opera. The queen’s correspondence also reveals close relationships with the many German musicians she selected for her Queen’s Band, particularly J.C. Bach, whose death in 1782 she found profoundly upsetting. This sense of a strong emotional connection with music and musicians is also evident in the extensive medical reports of George III, in which he is often described as arranging concerts for wished-for company, playing on the harpsichord and flute, and singing sacred and secular music. Examining these descriptions may bring us closer to an understanding of the true extent of George III’s personal relationship with music, and the solace which it appears to have given him during his periods of illness.

This project has received further funding from the Continuo Foundation, and a live concert re-creating a musical evening with Queen Charlotte will be performed and filmed for later release in summer 2022 by award-winning period group Ensemble Hesperi.

About the series

The Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) coffee breaks are an informal opportunity for researchers throughout the world to gather together virtually to discuss ongoing projects. Each session features a short presentation from a GPP researcher followed by open discussion of the project, suggestions for related material, or general conversation about the archives and research. The presenters in these events are often in the early stages of their project and the coffee breaks aim to facilitate the exchange of knowledge about both the materials in Windsor as well as other repositories throughout the world.

We limit the size of these events to 40 participants in order to encourage discussion among and between participants. No recordings are made of the discussions and no tweeting or posting on other social media platforms during the event is permitted in order to create a trusted working environment for developing projects.