Scottish Musicians in 18th Century London
As a freelance musician specialising in historical performance, research is integral to my career, and I started researching the fascinating world of Scottish eighteenth century music in 2016 when developing an early programme, "The Pheasant's Eye". In September 2019, I commenced a PhD in this area at the University of Southampton, with the title: "From Caledonia to the Capital: Scottish Musicians, Music-Making and Culture in London during the Long Eighteenth Century". I am delighted to be supervised by Dr Jeanice Brooks and Dr Jackie Collier, and supported by a full AHRC studentship through the SWWDTP2 consortium. As a SWWDTP-funded student, I am subject editor for Music for the consortium's student-led journal, 'Question'.
Having spent the first 17 years of my life in Scotland, I feel in some sense close to those Scottish musicians who chose to move to London to make their musical fortunes during the eighteenth century. Musicians such as James Oswald, John Reid, and the 6th Earl of Kellie ("Fiddler Tam"!) visited and settled in the capital, where they pursued fascinating careers as composers, performers, teachers and music publishers. I'm particularly interested in whether and how their compositions reflected both their Scottish identity and the popularity of the 'Scotch style' in mid-eighteenth century London. My postgraduate research therefore combines a historical analysis of the dynamic migration of Scottish musical identity with a focus on the role of Scottish musicians in the creative context of eighteenth century London. I question what it meant to be a Scottish musician in this context, how networks of Scottish musicians and patrons were formed, and how Scottish music was promoted in London during a period when it was politically complicated to be a Scot. Mirroring the transnational focus of my topic, I have established a research relationship with the Wighton Collection, Dundee, and Crown Court Church of Scotland, Covent Garden, who have kindly agreed to support my studies as partners.
To learn more, please visit my blog, where I post regularly both about my research discoveries and my ensemble's performances of this wonderful music.
Classical Reception and Titus Atticus
Before I decided to pursue a musical career, I very much enjoyed studying history at the University of Oxford. There I studied for a BA in Ancient and Modern history, followed by an MPhil in Roman History, supported by a full AHRC studentship. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I became fascinated by the then-new discipline of Classical Reception studies. As a Cicero enthusiast, I wanted to explore how Cicero was received in 17th and 18th century Britain. In the end, it was Cicero's best friend and correspondent, Titus Atticus, who was the focus of my Masters Thesis. If you fancy a long read, here it is: