Collection of Photographs of Performers and Composers of Music made by John Adcock, aNottingham Conductor, 1884-1892

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 210 black and white photographs mounted in a large hardcoverphotograph album, together with a few incidental papers, such as a programme, which assistidentification. Only a few images bear datable evidence; it appears that the compilation was madebetween 1884 and 1892. The photographs vary in size and type, with many being of carte de visiteformat. About 150 of the images have been identified and 47 have been autographed by the subjects,sometimes annotated with details of the occasion and occasionally featuring a 'musical signature'.Of the total, twenty are of actors. There are 13 signatures without images.

The album is an interesting record of late 19th-century musical performance and popular taste,and demonstrates the attraction of celebrity. The subjects include internationally famous composers,from Brahms to Wagner, but the majority are performers - conductors, instrumentalists, singers andactors. Many of these are no longer familiar names today.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Adcock, who has been identified from internal evidence as the compiler of this collection,was a well-known figure in the Nottingham music scene in the late 19th century. He was a conductor,and is believed to have conducted several of the performances mentioned in the volume which containsthe collection. One such Nottingham performance was 'The Martyr of Antioch' by Arthur Sullivan in1886.

It appears that Adcock on such occasions sought the autographs of notable musicians andperformers. To prepare for this, he seems to have collected images of them, which he would then askthem to sign or annotate. These were kept together in an album, which seems to have been compiledbetween 1884 and 1892.


No archival arrangement has been necessary.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers withadvance appointment.


Other Finding Aids

This description is currently the only publicly available finding aid available for the album.Copyright in the description belongs to The University of Nottingham. A draft list of all theidentified subjects in the album can be made available in the Department, with the assistance of thearchivists.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of any material from the album must be sought inadvance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts andSpecial Collections in October 2001.