MARSH, Henry (1824 - c. 1885); ANGAS, George French (1822-1886)
[SHEET MUSIC; SYDNEY]. The Anniversary Polka. Composed & dedicated to the Committee of Management of the Anniversary Regatta.
Sydney : H. Marsh & Co. . Printed by J. Allan. Folio, lithographed cover by George French Angas, with a signed vignette of the Regatta entering Sydney Heads, above which is a banner ADVANCE AUSTRALIA and a coat of arms enclosing a vignette of a youthful Queen Victoria, light foxing, paper reinforcement to spine, 4 pages music notation (score for piano); a fine copy.
‘Henry Marsh was active as a publisher, composer, music teacher and pianist in Sydney in the 1850s and 1860s. There are no known dates of birth or death, nor any available date of his arrival to the colonies, but by 1851 he had established a music publishing business and gave music and singing lessons, at one time in association with WH Paling and at another with CE Horsley. Henry Marsh performed regularly in concerts as a singer, pianist, or conductor. He was also an entrepreneur, and ran a business selling pianos. Together with WG Mason he printed and published the Sydney Illustrated News in mid-1854, in which there is an extensive list of his music publications. He published many of his own works as well as those of other composers. He operated his teaching and publishing pracices from various premises in Sydney. Most of his compositions were popular dance pieces for piano. Works such as the Galop for Gold and The Nugget Schottische commemorate the NSW gold rush of the 1850s. Marsh was a brother of the harpist and colonial composer Stephen Hale Marsh, who established a branch of the publishing business in Melbourne from 1852. Henry Marsh appears to have ceased publishing in the early 1860s. He was listed as a professor of music in the city directories until 1873, which perhaps suggests his date of death or departure from the colonies.’ – NLA website
The printer, John Allan, is known to have used the services of artist George French Angas for a number of examples of sheet music in Sydney in the 1850s. In this example, he illustrated a lively polka written by Marsh for recital on Anniversary Day, now known as Australia Day, to be celebrated on January 26th. ‘The first regular official event was the Anniversary sailing regatta on Sydney Harbour. This started in 1837, and continues today. In time, enterprising publicans and pleasure ground proprietors provided a wide range of Anniversary entertainment, incidental to the regatta. Picnics around the harbour at pleasure grounds were popular, particularly group excursions. Anniversary Day horse races were held at Homebush in the 1840s. Interclub cricket matches and organised athletic sports were popular too.’ – Dictionary of Sydney website http://home.dictionaryofsydney.org/anniversary-day-2/
Rare. A single example recorded in Australian collections (NLA, PIC Solander Box A16 #R6558. NLA also holds a sketch drawing for the cover, which is dated Jan. 26 1853).