‘“Souvenez Vous de Votre Amies”: Cross-Cultural Exchange at Exiled English Convent Schools in the Late Seventeenth Century’

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Despite recent growth in scholarship on exiled English convents and consolidation of convent musicology as an academic discipline, research into English convent music has remained comparatively sparse. This paper will present new evidence that three manuscripts from the Blount music collection - Ob. Ms. Mus. d.247, d.248, and d.255 - were most likely used by school pupils and nuns active between c.1670 and 1720 at the English Augustinian convent at Paris, the English Benedictine convent at Pontoise, and the English Poor Clares convent at Gravelines respectively. In doing so, it will highlight the utility of the secular music within these manuscripts in a convent context, and comment on how this evidence sits against a wider backdrop of music cultures at exiled English convents. It will situate the manuscripts as witnesses to cross-cultural musical exchange and the convents’ existence as nodes in musical networks. In doing so, it will outline the books’ connections to different people, institutions, and locales, and highlight the implications for scholarship on socio-musical developments in England at the turn of the 17th century.

Having established the place of these manuscripts within a convent context, this paper will then ask what these manuscripts reveal about music, female kinship, and self-fashioning at the end of the 17th century. It will highlight two unique examples of figural liturgical music within one of the manuscripts (d.248), and discuss their context in an English convent school. It will then ask what these items indicate about pathways to adulthood for English Catholic girls in the early modern world.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 30 Jun 2023
Event20th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music - Haute École de Musique de Genève (HEM), Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 28 Jun 20232 Jul 2023


Conference20th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music
Abbreviated titleBiennial Baroque
Internet address


  • baroque
  • early music
  • early modern music
  • Catholicism
  • convents
  • musicology

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