Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Miss Alice Little


I completed my D.Phil in the Music Faculty at Oxford in 2018, and have now taken up the post of Research Associate at the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, where I am working with the Anthony Baines Archive.

Though my past research has moved across three disciplines (History, Material Anthropology, and Music), my work has always focused on collectors and their historical contexts: my D.Phil project was based on the music collection of John Malchair (1730-1812), and my MSc research was about English musical instruments in the Pitt Rivers Museum, particularly those collected by Percy Manning (1870-1911).

Between my masters and doctorate I was employed in the museums sector, before taking on various project management roles. I was Assistant Curator of Musical Instruments at the Horniman Museum, where I was responsible for the Neil Wayne Collection of Free Reed Instruments, and part of the Documentation team at the British Museum, where I worked with 1930s handwritten accession registers.


My doctoral research used John Malchair’s tunebooks as a case study to define and place the collection of ‘national music’ historically in the mid-eighteenth century and geographically in England. By analysing and describing Malchair’s methods of collecting and the networks that provided him with tunes for his collection I described how the activity of collecting was carried out, and revealed how such music was thought of and categorised in the eighteenth century, before the notion of categorisation by geography had been fully established. Parts of this research will be published in the coming months, please see the list on my website (link below) for full details.

The Anthony Baines Archive project at the Bate Collection focuses on the life and work of Anthony Baines (1912-1997), an organologist, collector, author on the subject of musical instruments, and curator at the Bate from 1970-80. He acquired many instruments for the Collection and left his own collection to the museum; his wife, Patricia, also donated instruments. The Anthony Baines Archive consists of both personal and academic papers, including manuscript compositions, reproductions of artworks featuring musical instruments, notes on botany, Baines’ war records and photographs, in addition to drafts of his organological books and a great deal of unpublished musical research.

The Anthony Baines Archive project will include a conference on ‘Collectors and Collections’, to be held at the Music Faculty in August 2019, and is intended to result in the publication of a study-catalogue of the Baines material. Please email me if you’d like to be added to the project email list for further details of these and other events.


For an up to date list of my publications, conference papers, and upcoming talks, see

Follow me on Twitter: @littleamiss


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