Grainger Museum

Grainger Museum Collection

The Grainger Museum is the public face of an internationally significant archive and artifact collection numbering in excess of 100,000 items. Motivated by the desire to interpret and contextualise his creative achievements and cultural environment, Percy Grainger developed a highly eclectic collection. Selected items are on display in the Museum building. The majority of the collection is available for research by prior arrangement. Please contact the museum on grainger@ unimelb.edu.au.

A summary of the collection follows:

Art Works

The art collection comprises oil paintings, prints, works-on-paper and sculpture, and includes works by:
Rupert Bunny, Tom Roberts, Jacques-Emile Blanche, Augustus John, Jelka Delius, A.E. Aldis, Ella Grainger, Fredrick Leverton Harris, Ernest Thesiger, John Passmore, Helen Lemprière, Norma Bull, Bess Norris Tait, Noel Counihan, Norman Lindsay, Mortimer Menpes, Kaare Nygaard, F. Derwent Wood.

Costumes

Rose Grainger Costume Collection

Percy Grainger preserved most of his mother's extensive wardrobe following her death in 1922. This significant collection, which includes gowns by Chanel and Worth, provides insight into fashion trends of the upper-middle class during the Edwardian era.

The costume collection also includes Percy Grainger's unique towelling clothing designs, his military uniforms, childhood clothes, formal wear, items of Ella Grainger's wardrobe as well as examples of clothes belonging to the composers Cyril Scott, Balfour Gardiner and Roger Quilter.

Decorative Arts and Furniture

Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic Period designs are prominent within the decorative arts collection which includes copper utensils, vessels and lamps made by the New York metal smiths, Jos Heinrichs and silverware by Lebolt from Chicago.

Porcelain and ceramics in the collection include items by Meissen, Royal Copenhagen, Royal Doulton, Willow Pattern (various makers), Japanese porcelain (Meiji period), Mamluk and Ottoman pottery and painted tiles by Ella Grainger.

Furniture

Furniture dates from the mid 17th century to late 19th century and is predominantly of British origin. Of particular note are chairs believed to have been designed by Arts and Crafts designer Ernest Gimson and a vernacular oak kitchen chair from the mid-17th century. Grainger also collected a writing desk belonging to Edvard Grieg and a document box originally belonging to Franz Liszt.

Ethnographic Collection

Grainger began collecting artefacts from diverse ethnic groups during his concert tours before World War One. His collection of ethographica grew to include costumes, masks, headgear, footwear, adornments, utensils and weapons. During his tour in 1908-09 he became interested in weaving jewellery and accoutrements from glass beads, and also began an extensive collection of bead artefacts that included items from Melanesia, Polynesia, North America and South Africa.

Musical Instruments

There are 250 instruments in the collection.

Keyboard

Upright pianos, square pianos, grand pianos, harmoniums, Dulcitone, Duoart reproducing piano

Tuned Percussion

Staff bells, steel marimba, wooden marimbas, xylophones, tuned glasses ('glassophone'), mallets

Strings

Harp, harp guitar, guitars, ukuleles, viol, violin

Woodwind/brass

Clarinets, oboes, flute, fife, slide whistles, sarrusophones, saxophone, trombones

Non-Western Instruments

Hardanger fiddle, didjeridoo, clapping sticks, auto-zither, ban hu, gong, yueh ch'in (moon guitar), san hsien, yang chin, rabâb, drums, kerar, sansa, maracas

Other

Accordion, concertina, Theremin

Hirschfeld-Mack Collection

Experimental wooden wind and string instruments made and designed by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Weimar Bauhaus trained artist and teacher

Percy Grainger's Experimental Free Music Machines ('Tone-Tools')

Butterfly Piano (prepared child's piano), Reed-Box Tone-Tool, 'Kangaroo-Pouch' Tone-Tool, prepared piano roll for Grainger's composition Sketches for Sea Song

Photographs

15,000 images illustrate most years of Grainger's life and his social milieu. He also documented his practice of flagellism and collected commercially produced erotic photographs during the 1920s and 1930s.

The collection includes works by Arnold Genthe, H. Walter Barnett, Adolph de Meyer, Gertrude Kasebier, Mina Moore, May Moore, Jean De Strelecki.

'Lust Branch' Collection

The collection referred to by Grainger as his 'Lust Branch' comprises pornography, whips and clothing, and protective devices used by Grainger and his lovers during sexual activities. Grainger also included news clippings, photographic documentation and essays investigating and discussing his sexual expression.

Grainger Museum Archive

Correspondence

The Grainger Museum archive contains approximately 50,000 items of correspondence. Grainger preserved extensive correspondence between himself and the following:
Edvard Grieg, Fredrick Delius, Cyril Scott, Balfour Gardiner; Roger Quilter; Dom Anselm Hughes, Arnold Dolmetsch, Herman and Alfhild Sandby, Amy Black, Henry Cowell, Lewis Slavit, Ernest Thesiger, Adolph de Meyer, Margot Harrison, Karen Holten, Elsie Bristow.

The archive also holds the Ella Grainger collection of correspondence, and letters collected by Rose Grainger.

Business Records and Personal Papers

Grainger's banking and account records, taxation records, insurance, investments, royalties, performing and recording contracts and private bills are held by the Museum.
Personal papers include birth and death certificates, Percy Grainger's autopsy report, will, naturalisation papers, medical records, shopping lists and dietary lists.

Concert Programs

An almost complete set of concert programs from 1894 - 1960 record Grainger's performing career.

Graphic Designs/ Typography

Percy Grainger designed many of the covers for his published music. This collection includes numerous sketches, finished artworks, printers' proofs, colour tests and examples of calligraphy.

Music Manuscripts and Published Musical Editions

The Museum's holdings of compositions and arrangements by Grainger are comprehensively listed in two catalogues written by Dr Kay Dreyfus and published by the Grainger Museum.

Grainger's extensive collection of published music by other composers is listed in a catalogue written by Phil Clifford and published by the Grainger Museum in 1983.

All three catalogues are available for purchase through the Grainger Museum.

Archives of Australian Composers

Manuscripts, published scores and supporting archival material are held for the following composers:
Prof. G.W.L. Marshall-Hall
Elsa Marshall-Hall (Elsa Inman)
Ian Bonighton
Mary (May) Brahe
Florence M. Donaldson Ewart
Mona McBurney
Henry Tate
Leon Caron
Anne Mackey
Philip Nunn
Edwin Burchett
Violet Vernon

Collections Related to Australian Musical Culture

A.E.H. Nickson Collection - music, books, personal papers, including a collection of music by the German late Romantic composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933).
Noel Nickson Collection -papers relating to his research into the court music of the Tang Dynasty
Alberto Zelman - personal papers, photographs, programs, correspondence, and newsclippings relating to the life of this important figure in Australia's musical history.
Horace Stevens - personal papers.
Royal Victorian Liedertafel Collection - documents, photographs, programs, scores and memorabilia, including records of several other Liedertafeln associated with, or amalgamated into the Royal Victorian Liedertafel.
Shirley Schneider Collection - documents and ephemera, including concert programs relating to Australian musical performances from 1902 onwards.
Melbourne Orchestral Programs Collection - concert programs relating to musical events, mainly in Melbourne, from 1926 to 1941.
Kogan Collection - concert programs of the Victorian/Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Professor Laver Collection - documents relating to the life of the first Australian-born Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne from 1915-25.
Matilda Kirke Collection - 19th century piano and vocal music.
Dorian Le Gallienne - scores belonging to Dorian Le Gallienne.

Grainger's Personal Library

4000 volumes are listed on the University of Melbourne Library catalogue. The collection includes literature in English and Nordic languages, music, song, poetry, pornography, history and linguistics.

Sound Archive

Phonograph Cylinders

400 recordings of English, Danish, Rarotongan (Cook Islands) and Maori folk singers

Gramophone Records

(Lacquer, acetate - 78rpm)

30 Recordings of Percy Grainger's piano performances

36 10inch acetate recordings of Grainger's musical experiments, rehearsals and some interviews - date range mid 1930s to mid 1950s (these items have been dubbed on to CD)

500 recordings comprising Grainger's collection of Classical recordings

Piano Rolls

190 rolls including Grainger playing his own works and works by other composers; other artists playing a variety of classical and popular pieces

Audio Tapes

(reel-to-reel)

100 tapes - private recordings of radio broadcasts, rehearsals, musical performances acquired from various sources

top of page