Bowerbird to L'oiseau-Lyre: The Hanson-Dyer Collection at the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, the University of Melbourne

By Excell, Richard | Fontes Artis Musicae, July-September 2008 | Go to article overview

Bowerbird to L'oiseau-Lyre: The Hanson-Dyer Collection at the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, the University of Melbourne


Excell, Richard, Fontes Artis Musicae


Many music librarians will recognize the name of Louise Hanson-Dyer as the founder of the publishing house of l'Oiseau-Lyre. (2) From its very first publication, the exquisitely finished Couperin edition, the elegant curves of the lyrebird's tail were a constant motif and a subtle memento of Louise's Australian homeland. But shortly before the lyrebird spread its magnificent tail, she had emulated another distinctive avian Australian, the bowerbird. Both birds are indefatigably obsessed with display, manifested by the lyrebird through performance, and by the bowerbird through collecting.

The 'bowerbird' phase of Louise Dyer's (as she was at the time) life was brief--just a couple of years--but extraordinarily fruitful. She was not a typical collector at all: no years of gradual accumulation, no trading items with other collectors. After 1931, nothing was added to the collection as it sat on the specially-made shelves in her Paris apartment, but neither was anything taken away by her, her second husband Joseph Hanson, nor his second wife Margarita Hanson, whose model custodianship deserves commendation.

Historical background

Louise B. M. Smith was her mother's first child and the eleventh of her father, a successful (if at times controversial) doctor and parliamentarian. As four of his children had already died, Louise's birth in 1884 was an event of significance. Her father, although regarding her birth as precious, also believed that 'children should be kept active while awake'. At two years of age, she was already travelling with her parents to Europe via Mauritius, the Seychelles, and on to Paris. The attention and stimuli Louise received were to be precursors to her later interests which were varied and European. Musicians, artists and politicians were regular visitors to the family home. In addition to the visitors were the six servants, and four step-sisters who would visit from boarding school.

She attended school at Presbyterian Ladies' College (PLC), the same school which had graduated Nellie Mitchell, the singer who was already known from her Covent Garden success as 'Melba', and Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson), who wrote of her school experiences at PLC in her novel The Getting of Wisdom.

Louise was a better than average, though far from outstanding, scholar. A naturally gregarious and sociable child, she would have found the constraints of boarding school stultifying and frustrating. Although she struggled to learn French at the Alliance Francaise, she was later to become its President and an ardent Francophile. In addition to French lessons, Louise learned piano from Miss Adelaide Burkitt, who also taught Percy Grainger. She attained good marks in her piano exams and was encouraged to consider a career as a performer. Taking lessons in singing and playing the harp, music began to dominate Louise's life. In 1905, she enrolled as a student at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Albert Street.

Louise travelled to Britain with her favourite brother Louis in 1908 and then on to Paris for the first time as an adult. Returning to Melbourne in 1909, she realised that she did not have the ability to make a career in concert performance and thereafter performed only rarely in public, exploring other avenues for her creative energies.

Louise married a Scot, James ('Jimmy') Dyer, when she was 27. He was nearly twice her age and had a successful position with a linoleum company. Within a year of marrying she was pregnant, but she soon fell seriously ill and was reluctantly persuaded to terminate the pregnancy and undergo a hysterectomy. The First World War having begun, Louise involved herself in fund-raising for orphans, and her advocacy of things French and British grew stronger.

After the war, she formed the Victorian branch of the British Music Society and fostered performances of works by British composers (especially Gustav Holst) and their Australian counterparts.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bowerbird to L'oiseau-Lyre: The Hanson-Dyer Collection at the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, the University of Melbourne
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.