Object of the Week: The score for Deck the Halls copied by Jane Austen in her family music book

| 30 December 2015
A photo of ancient sheet music in black ink on light brown paper
© Jane Austen's House Museum
Jane Austen played the piano and sang throughout her life. She and her family carefully copied music by hand into personal albums, and collected the sheet music that poured from London presses.

These albums of individually copied or purchased sheet music items, bound together, show the personal tastes of their owners – just as a digital music collection on a mobile phone or MP3 device would today.

A photo of an illustration of an angel in black ink on the front of an old sheet music book
The front page of the second Austen Family Music Book© Jane Austen's House Museum
In addition to Austen herself, other women in the Austen family, including her sisters-in-law and nieces, all contributed material to the collection.

This copy of a section of Deck the Halls, in Austen's hand, is part of an impressive collection of 18 albums of music containing around 600 pieces that belonged to the 19th century writer and her relations.

See the collection online at https://archive.org/details/austenfamilymusicbooks

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The article mentions that the collection includes music copied by Jane Austen's sister in law, Eliza de Feuillide, also known as Mrs Henry Austen. Eliza played the harpsichord, harp and piano and was an accomplished musician. I show in my book "Jane Austen - a New Revelation" that Eliza was the true author of the novels but could not publish under her own name as she was the illilegitimate daughter of the Governor of India.
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