Georgina Gregory MS

Georgina Gregory was a teenage student of the great performer, Felix Horetsky, while he lived in Edinburgh in the 1840s. Horetsky taught guitar in Edinburgh (Scotland Street, and later, Clarence Street) for some twenty years.

The Georgina Gregory manuscript provides a good insight into pedagogic practice during the Golden Age of the guitar in the 19th Century, the time of Sor and Giuliani.

The manuscript contains pieces written or arranged by Horetski, as well as a few pieces by other composers such as Giuliani. Of great interest are the arrangements of Scottish and Polish airs, which seem quite unique to this manuscript.

A Lost Manuscript

As a student of the guitar, I used to visit the Edinburgh University Collection of Historical Musical Instruments most Saturday mornings, and was often greeted by the now late Anne Macaulay,  who would always have a story or two about the instruments and the players. When Anne was dying, she asked me to play some Scottish lute music at her funeral – a very moving occasion.

But Anne also told me about a guitar manuscript she had a photocopy of, bearing the name, Georgina Gregory. She had given it to the Scottish music historian, David Johnson. After Anne’s passing, David handed the copy to me. Unfortunately, Anne had neglected to inform David where the original manuscript was housed. I made enquiries to a number of libraries in Edinburgh and Aberdeen (where all papers pertaining to the Gregory family have been housed), but no avail.

There is no library mark on the copy, only an accompanying note in Mrs MacAulay’s hand regarding its whereabouts , including ‘Forbes-Leith Collection, 24’. I have tried various libraries in Scotland, both in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, but to no avail. The Forbes-Leith Collection does exist, but this manuscript is not – and never has been – part of it. There are also papers belonging to the Gregory family, but no mention of this manuscript. Thankfully it carries the name of Georgina ‘Gregory, Ainslie Place’ on the cover, and, indeed, there was a Georgina Gregory living in Ainslie Place, Edinburgh in the 1840s.

Georgina Gregory seems to have been a pupil of Felix Horetski – once Giuliani’s duet partner – who had settled in Scotland Street, Edinburgh, after one of his exhaustive long tours of Europe. He seems to have remained in the city for twenty years, at one point teaching the young Schepanowski, who succeeded him as guitar teacher after his death.

The manuscript

So I have decided to share the manuscript with the world. Here it is:

Miss Georgina Gregory manuscript

…and here are the sound files I made using an original Panormo from the Collection at Edinburgh University. Unfortunately the recording quality is not the best, so I might do them again soon if I can get the time.


Georgina Gregory

Anne Macaulay donated to the Edinburgh Collection a painting she thought to be of Georgina Gregory:

I do not know the painter, and admit there is much research to be done with many aspects of the manuscript. If not Georgina Gregory herself, it is certainly a portrait of someone of her age group. The hands look those of a player, and the footstool adds a degree of authenticity.

Felix Horetsky

…or Felix Horecki…was one of the leading virtuosi in Europe of the 1830s to 50s. He was born in Poland in 1796, and died in Edinburgh in 1870. He studied guitar in Vienna with the great Mauro Giuliani.