Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

On this day: John Muir Wood

Last year, Whittaker started a series of 'on this day' postings commemorating little-known names connected with Scottish musical history.  

John Muir Wood has already been mentioned in this series, when we noted his death on 25 June 1892.  He gets another mention today because he was born in Edinburgh on this day, 31 July 1805.  And he was, truly, a significant name in his time, even though he has largely been forgotten in modern times.

Pianos, Publishing and Photos

He and his brother ran the family firm of piano makers and music publishers.  Latterly, John ran the Glasgow branch.He was a friend of Broadwood, another piano-making firm, and also friendly with Chopin (who paid a visit to Scotland when he was dying of TB).  Muir Wood was also an early photographic genius. 

You can find a couple of John Muir Wood's major Scottish song collections in the Whittaker Library here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland:-  
  • The collection edited by George Farquhar Graham, Songs of Scotland; subsequent editions entitled The Popular Songs of Scotland (or, The Popular Songs and Melodies of Scotland, as spine title).
  • Finlay Dun’s Orain na h-Albam

More for the curious

  • Find Muir Wood amongst famous Wood clansmen: 
  • Read the National Galleries' biography of John Muir Wood
  •  Search in COPAC under Author = Muir Wood, and you discover many pieces published by the family firm throughout the nineteenth century.   (Copac is a union catalogue combining the resources of all the university and national libraries in Britain - it's a great place to find things.  If we haven't got something here in the Whittaker Library, we can often borrow it, unless it's very old and rare or special in some other way.)

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