Sir Henry Rowley Bishop

Sir Henry Rowley Bishop

London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 30 Apr 1856 (aged 69)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial East Finchley, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 8181 · View Source
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Composer. He received notoriety as an English musical composer, with his most well-known piece being the 1823 song, “Home, Sweet Home!” He was the first musician to be knighted, which was done by Queen Victoria on June 1, 1842. A forgotten composer in the 21st century, he was a prolific composer during his day with 3 ballets, 80 operas, oratorios, ballads, and numerous glees for a total of over 120 pieces. Another of his well-known songs was his 1819 “Lo, here the Gentle Lark,” which was written for a Shakespearean production. The son of a merchant, he had no real formal music training except studying with Italian opera composer, Francesco Bianchi. He published his first song in 1801 while employed in a music shop. With his talent quickly being recognized, his first theatrical musical production, “Angelina,” opened in 1804. His first opera was “The Circassian Bride” opening successfully on February 23, 1909, but before the second night's production, a blaze at Drury Lane burnt the theater to the ground along with his handwritten musical score. In March of 1910, he opened with another production with 25 songs, “Maniac” or “The Swiss Banditi.” Starting in 1811, he composed music for seventy productions, over a 13-year span, at London's famous Covent Garden. Besides Shakespearean productions, he wrote music for dramas, comedies, tragedies, operas, romantic drama, and marches for patriotic productions. He produced his adaptations of several of Mozart's pieces. He had a successful opera, “Aladdin” in 1826 and expanded “Home, Sweet Home!” in 1829 to an opera. Although Bishop composed the music, the lyrics for “Home, Sweet Home” were written by an American John Howard Payne. After 1838, Bishop taught music, receiving many offers for a position, but with his limited formal education, he did not stay more than three years in any position. In 1841 he was a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for two years, while still residing in London. He received a doctorate degree in music from Oxford University in 1943. After he was knighted, he was made chairman of music at Oxford University in 1848. His last piece was in 1853 for Lord Derby's installation as chancellor of Oxford University. Bishop married twice with each wife being a singer. Little is documented about his first wife, Miss Lyons, except she had a small part in his first opera and the couple had three children. His second wife was the well-known operatic soprano Ann Riviere Bishop, who abandoned him in a public scandal for another man , Nicholas Robert Charles Bochsa. Bishop's impoverished death, which was from a complication of surgery for cancer, occurred before their pending divorce was granted. He and Ann Bishop also had three children . The Oxford “Musical Quarterly” of January of 1918 documents all his many compositions in the order of being written, with a description and a review of each; critics did not care for everything he wrote. He had several portraits painted with two on display at the National Portrait Gallery . Purchased with public funds, a large upright pink granite marker with his facial relief in bronze graces his grave site.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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To the memory of Sir Henry Rowley Bishop KNT, Professor of Music in the University of Oxford
This monument is erected in grateful remembrance of the delight received by his admirers during the many years from his various popular and pleasing contributions to the treasures of English music.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 16 Jan 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8181
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Henry Rowley Bishop (18 Nov 1786–30 Apr 1856), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8181, citing East Finchley Cemetery and Crematorium, East Finchley, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .