Orlando Gibbons - Black Marble Bust

On June 5th 1907, Pastmaster C.T.D.Crews presented to Westminster Abbey, on behalf of the Company, a Black Marble bust of the celebrated organist and composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625). At the ceremony, the bust was unveiled by HRH Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein (Queen Victoria's third daughter).

A special service (preached by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend J. Armitage Robinson) was held at which all music had been composed by Gibbons and was under the direction of Pastmaster Sir Frederick Bridge. A choir of about 300 singers was used along with a 'large string band'.

The Musicians' Company Archive Project

The Bust is placed in the North Choir Aisle, close to the monuments of Henry Purcell, John Blow and William Croft. It was created by sculptor, Arthur George Walker (1861-1939) and is actually a copy of the Bust which resides in Canterbury Cathedral, where Gibbons is buried.

The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project

The Court Meeting Minute Book for 1907 (MB9) contains a three page report of the events of June 5th at Westminster Abbey and these 3 pages are shown left

 

Click on each page to expand.

An Official Programme from the Westminster Abbey service is held by the Company and is partly shown below. It can be seen that this one has been addressed to the Princess "Louise Augusta", signed by Mr C.T.D.Crews. The Minutes shown above refer to HRH Princess Christian being accompanied by her daughter and also refer to the name Princess Louise Augusta. The appellation 'Louise Augusta' was used early in her life by Princess Marie Louise (1872-1956) who was briefly married to Prince Aribert of Anhalt.

 

The programme also contains an illustration of the original bust of Gibbons, which resides in Canterbury Cathedral and from which the black marble replica was copied. The remainder of the programme contains sheet music of every piece played at the Service - all of it composed by Gibbons and much of it arranged especially by pastmaster Sir Frederick Bridge.

press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom

On 14th July 1925 the Company held a Court Dinner at Stationers' Hall at which (in celebration of the tercentenary of his death) the music had all been composed by Gibbons. A bound souvenir copy of the programme and associated ephemera is held by the Company - the front page, picture of the bust and a newspaper cutting from the following day (all taken from this scrapbook) are presented below.

The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project

As mentioned in the cutting, it was also the event at which the Cobbett Medal for Chamber Music was presented for just the second time. The inaugural award having been given to Thomas Dunhill the previous year.

:              :