Like all Livery Companies of the City of London, the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Musicians is comprised of a number of posts, each carrying different responsibilities and roles. On ceremonial occasions Court members wear Robes or Gowns signifying their individual position within the Court, together with an associated medal or jewel hung from a collar ribbon, or chain. This section identifies those various posts and illustrates the gowns and collar badges that are worn.
A dark blue (some might say purple) gown with fur collar, yellow-striped ribbon and front trimmings; a red hood with its own brown fur trim. The Master's Jewel was made by order of the Court in 1879 and cost the sum of £28. It separates from the chain (which was presented in 1908 by Mr Crews, the Master of the day), which is only worn at very special occasions, at other times a less valuable and delicate blue ribbon is used instead. The City Arms jewel on the blue ribbon was given by Pastmaster Frank Fowler - it was owned by his late wife, Margaret.
The Swan in the Arms may be indicative of a link with Apollo, the patron god of music and poetry in classical mythology. However, it was also the personal badge of George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon. He was Lord Chamberlain and an amateur musician who died in 1603 and it may be that the Arms granted to the Company in 1604 included this tribute to the memory of a renowned patron of the arts. Click Here for further discussion on the Company Arms.
Senior and Junior Wardens' gowns are identical and have a furred collar and trim but no hood (as the wearer is 'below the Chair' within the Company). The Senior Warden's Jewel is shown to the right (the Junior Warden's is the same, but has 'JUNIOR' engraved under the Arms instead). Alongside the Master's jewel, the Wardens' badges date from 1879.
Blue gowns with no furred collar but wide yellow-striped ribbon. They have red hoods with white fur trim. The Immediate Pastmaster's robe is the same but there is a special collar badge and chain which is worn for the first year out of office.
The gilt medal worn by Pastmasters is of the same design as the ‘silver’ Livery Medal; on the obverse are the Swan and the dates of the Company’s two Charters – 1604 and 1950. On the reverse are engraved the holder’s name and date of admission to the Court. It is worn on a plain yellow collar ribbon.
Blue gowns with red hood, no fur trim, with wide yellow-striped ribbon. Similar to Pastmasters' robe but with shorter sleeves.
The gilt medal worn by a member of the Court is of the same design as the ‘silver’ Livery Medal; on the obverse are the Swan and the dates of the Company’s two Charters – 1604 and 1950. On the reverse are engraved the holder’s name and date of admission to the Court and it's worn by Assistants below the Chair on a ribbon necklet of red, yellow and blue
Black gown with wide yellow-striped ribbon. There is no automatic hood, though this is anomalous if the Treasurer is also a Pastmaster.
The Beadles' gown is old, and is unique. The Mace dates from 1729 and bares the following inscription:
The Gift of Richard Loyde, Master of the
Worshipful Company of Musicians, Anno - 1729
Clerk & Deputy Clerk
The Clerk's gown is black and has black tassles down the sleeves, whereas the Deputy's gown has plain sleeves; they are otherwise identical. There is no gown for an Assistant Clerk.
The first Stewards of modern times took office in October 1999. The Stewards’ term of service is currently two years. A Steward’s badge, showing the Swan, hangs from a black and white ribbon and each of the four Stewards has a wand surmounted by a ‘silver’ badge.
Gowns are dark blue and lack yellow stripes.
Once a Steward has completed two years’ service, he or she is presented with a small ‘silver’ lyre with a pin, so that it may be worn on the Livery or Court Medal ribbon.
The Liveryman's Gown, which is not the same as that of other companies, has a narrow yellow stripe.
On being clothed with the Livery of the Musicians’ Company, a new Liveryman is presented with a ‘silver’ medal which should be worn on the right lapel at all official Company functions. It hangs from a short ribbon of red, yellow and blue.
Around the edge are three dates: 1500, 1604 and 1950 signifying respectively, the Incorporation of The Fellowship of Minstrels; the King James I Royal Charter; and the George VI Royal Charter.
President of the Livery Club
The Livery Club was founded in 1902 and is the Company’s social arm. Its President serves two years in office, during which time he or she organises events and visits which all Company members may attend. The position does not have an associated Robe or Gown, but it does have a collar badge with a diameter of around 8cm - significantly larger than any other Company Medal. The gilt badge was designed by George William De Saulles (1862-1903), medallist and engraver at the Royal Mint and shows Saint Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Musicians, on the obverse and on the reverse are recorded details of its presentation by Sir Edward Rigg in July 1916 as follows:
WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF MUSICIANS
SIR EDWARD RIGG.
Shown left is a medal presented in 1953 (this one to Alan Rawsthorne in fact). By this time, it can be seen that the rear inscription style has changed, the hanging ring has been decorated and a blue, yellow and red ribbon attached.
However, this yellow ribbon is a 21st century innovation. Since 1901, Pastmasters have been presented with a smal medal, worn on the right lapel and hung from a blue ribbon (see right, click on the image to enlarge. This is still given to Masters on retiring from the Chair, but is seldom worn. On the obverse is Apollo holding a lyre and on the reverse is the Company’s Badge. The holder’s name is engraved around the edge.
The Livery Badge or Medal was first introduced in 1906 - at that time the three dates were in fact 1469, 1604 and 1906 (signifying the Edward IV Royal Charter - establishing The Brotherhood of The King's Minstrels; The James I Royal Charter; and the introductory date of the Medal).
On the right, are images of one of the very earliest Livery Badges. This particular one was presented to Mr Henry Nathan, who was clothed in the Livery on 30th April 1907 at a Court Meeting in Stationers' Hall. Click the image to enlarge.
The ceremony was carried out by the Immediate Pastmaster, Mr Edward Ernest Cooper (who went on to become Lord Mayor in 1919). Grateful thanks are sent to Timothy Lever (Mr Nathan's Great Nephew) for the production of these images and permission to use them.