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Secret Letters and a Missing Memorandum: New Light on the Personal Relationship between Felix Mendelssohn and Jenny Lind

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020


The Committee of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation possesses material indicating that Mendelssohn wrote passionate love letters to Jenny Lind entreating her to join him in an adulterous relationship and threatening suicide as a means of exerting pressure upon her, and that these letters were destroyed on being discovered after her death. The notion that Mendelssohn would have written such letters conflicts strikingly with the received view of his character. Nevertheless, the veracity of the material is beyond doubt, and, while it does not include specific evidence that Mendelssohn and Lind began an affair, it points more clearly than has hitherto been possible towards an answer to this question. Thus it necessitates a radical revision of perceptions of these two major musicians. For Otto Goldschmidt, Lind's husband, destroying the letters was crucial in protecting the reputations not only of his wife and Mendelssohn but also of himself and his family.

Research Article
Copyright © The Royal Musical Association

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I am grateful to the members of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation Committee under its present and past chairs, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Colin Lawson, for granting me access to the Foundation's papers, and to its honorary secretary, Jean Shannon, for assistance in my enquiries.


1 See, for instance, R. Larry Todd, Mendelssohn: A Life in Music (New York, 2003), 507, 508, 513, and Monika Hennemann, ‘Felix Mendelssohn's Dramatic Compositions: From Liederspiel to Lorelei’, The Cambridge Companion to Mendelssohn, ed. Peter Mercer-Taylor (Cambridge, 2004), 206–29.

2 Eva Öhrström, Jenny Lind: The Swedish Nightingale, trans. W. E. Ottercrans (Stockholm, 2000), 9, 45; Peter Mercer-Taylor, The Life of Mendelssohn (Cambridge, 2000), 192; Todd, Mendelssohn, 507. Öhrström does not interrogate the issue as do the Mendelssohn scholars noted here.

3 Clive Brown, A Portrait of Mendelssohn (New Haven, CT, and London, 2003), 32–3. A positive view of Mendelssohn's marriage can also be found in The Mendelssohns on Honeymoon: The 1837 Diary of Felix and Cécile Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Together with Letters to their Families, trans. and ed. Peter Ward Jones (Oxford, 1997), xxviii.

4 ‘Conspiracy of Silence. Could the release of secret documents shatter Felix Mendelssohn's reputation? Secret documents revealing a dark tale of adultery and suicide could shatter Felix Mendelssohn's reputation. Jessica Duchen reports on demands for their release’, The Independent, 12 January 2009, 16–17.

5 See L. G. D. Sanders, ‘Jenny Lind, Sullivan and the Mendelssohn Scholarship’, Musical Times, 97 (1956), 466–7, and The Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation Established in the Year 1848; The Boise Foundation Established in the Year 1949. Trust Deeds & Regulations dated 1st August, 1871, and 1st June, 1955, with lists of Committee and Scholars ([London, 1974?]), 2. Regarding Lind's proposing the Elijah performance, see Henry Scott Holland and W. S. Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt: Her Early Art-Life and Dramatic Career, 1820–1851, 2 vols. (London, 1891), ii, 236, 241–2.

6 This and other information below regarding the Committee is taken from its archival materials housed in the Royal Academy of Music. Access to the papers of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation Committee is by arrangement with the librarian of the Royal Academy of Music.

7 Stainer was honorary secretary from 1935 until 1959 and a member of the Committee thereafter.

8 Stainer's document is a carbon copy. He and Sharp probably retained private copies of their papers, though no such copies have come to light.

9 The firm took this name in 1885, having been founded in 1859 as Tilleard, Godden & Holme. In 1980 it amalgamated with Thicknesse & Hull, adopting the name Goddens & Thicknesse.

10 Randle Holme, Some Things I Have Done (London, [1949]), 34.

11 See his obituary in The Times (24 December 1957), 9. I am grateful to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for supplying information about the firm and related matters.

12 There is no hint that Mendelssohn urged Lind to elope with him to America, as was suggested in The Independent of 12 January 2009.

13 See Robert Sterndale Bennett, ‘The Death of Mendelssohn’, Music and Letters, 36 (1955), 374–6 (for the 1955 diagnosis, see p. 376), and Peter Ward Jones, ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdys Tod: Der Bericht seiner Frau’, Mendelssohn Studien, 12 (2001), [205]–225. For Cécile Mendelssohn's reference to an internal paralysis (‘eine innere Lähmung’), see Mendelssohn Studien., 225.

14 Holme, Some Things I Have Done, 34.

15 At this point Sharp dealt with the question of what the memorandum had said regarding Mendelssohn's suicide and with the extract from Some Things I Have Done.

16 Sharp gave brief information regarding his career with the firm in the introduction of his paper for the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation Committee. Regarding his professional involvement with E. M. Forster, see Cambridge, King's College Library, EMF/18/216.

17 Tuck and Plowman joined the firm in 1927 and 1928 respectively. Tuck died in 1977 and Plowman in 1980 (shortly before Stainer and Sharp presented their papers to the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation Committee). Tuck's will suggests that they long maintained a high mutual regard, with no suspicion of doubtful professional probity: it specifies legacies for Plowman and Sharp, ‘my former partners[, …] in token of our friendly relations over many years’ (paragraph 3(a)). Tuck was succeeded on the Committee by Michael Cowper, one of his executors and the member of the firm with whom Stainer first raised the issue of the memorandum. Cowper died in 1993. Copies of wills are available on completion of an application form obtainable from HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Postal Searches and Copies, Leeds Probate Registry, York House, York Place, Leeds, LS1 2BA.

18 There is nothing that might refer to the memorandum in her own will (or those of any of the other individuals involved).

19 Quoted from the copy of the letter to Stainer of 14 May 1980, unsigned, but evidently from the then honorary secretary, Pamela Harwood, included in the Committee's materials at the Royal Academy of Music.

20 Musical Examiner, 89 (1844), 682, as quoted by Colin Timothy Eatock, Mendelssohn and Victorian England (Farnham, 2009), 89.

21 Quoted in Julius Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works of the Late Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, 2nd edn (London, 1853), 53–4. The above passage is followed by further fulsome praise for ‘the great Master’. Prince Albert wrote his tribute in the ‘book of words’ he used at the performance, later presented to Mendelssohn (see Frederick George Edwards, A History of Mendelssohn's Oratorio ‘Elijah’ (London, 1896), 127–8).

22 Athenaeum, 1046 (1847), 1178–9 (p. 1179); ‘Recollections of Felix Mendelssohn. By Mrs. Austin’, Fraser's Magazine, 37 (1848), 427–8 (p. 428). See also the unsigned article ‘Felix Mendelssohn’, Fraser's Magazine, 36 (1847), 732–7.

23 Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works, 59–60.

24 Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works, 55–9, 65. Benedict noted that ‘a renewed cerebral attack’ occurred on 28 October (p. 59), and also referred to a ‘fatal seizure’ (p. 65).

25 Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works, 50.

26 Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works, 29–30, 31.

27 Benedict, A Sketch of the Life and Works, [67].

28 Elizabeth Sheppard, Charles Auchester: A Memorial, 3 vols. (London, 1853). Regarding translations, see Eatock, Mendelssohn and Victorian England, 122.

29 W. S. Rockstro, Mendelssohn (London, 1884), 100–32 passim.

30 Hugh Reginald Haweis, Music and Morals (London, 1871), 93. Haweis cannot have been unaware of the implications of his words. In 1894 his own wife was confronted by his mistress and their six-year-old child. See Elizabeth Baigent, ‘Haweis, Hugh Reginald (1838–1901)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, 61 vols. (Oxford, 2004; hereafter ODNB), xxv, 873–5 (p. 875).

31 A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D. 1450–1889), ed. George Grove, 4 vols. (London, 1879–1900), ii, 253–310 (pp. 305, 292, 304, 293). The Mendelssohn article was published in February 1880 (see Charles Larcom Graves, The Life and Letters of Sir George Grove, C.B. (London, 1903), 250).

32 She gave 81 opera performances in London, as opposed to 56 in Berlin. Although she made considerably more appearances in her native Stockholm, this city was not of comparable prestige as an operatic centre. The London performances included four of Verdi's I masnadieri, given its world première at Her Majesty's Theatre on 22 July 1847 under the composer's direction. See Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 305.

33 Morning Post, 14 May 1847, 5, quoted in George Biddlecombe, ‘The Construction of a Cultural Icon: The Case of Jenny Lind’, Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies, 3, ed. Peter Horton and Bennett Zon (Aldershot, 2003), 45–61 (p. 47).

34 Grisi was known for her adulterous affair with Lord Castlereagh, to whom she bore a child, followed by her unmarried partnership with the tenor Mario, with whom she had a number of children.

35 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 233; see also Biddlecombe, ‘The Construction of a Cultural Icon’, 54–5. Hilary Poriss places Lind's reputation for philanthropy within a broader context of altruism associated with prima donnas in ‘Prima Donnas and the Performance of Altruism’, The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss (New York, 2012), 42–60.

36 Brown, A Portrait of Mendelssohn, 32.

37 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 200–1. Concerning Wichmann's wife, Amalia, who, as will emerge, became an extremely important confidante for Lind, see Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt., 300.

38 See Todd, Mendelssohn, 322–3, 325, 404, and Brown, A Portrait of Mendelssohn, 30. Marian Wilson Kimber describes her as ‘a silent onlooker in many biographies of her husband’ (‘Felix and Fanny: Gender, Biography, and History’, The Cambridge Companion to Mendelssohn, ed. Mercer-Taylor, 42–52 (p. 48)).

39 See Lind's letter of 1 December 1845 to Jacob Axel Josephson in Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 319–21 (p. 320); see also Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt., 331–3.

40 Todd, Mendelssohn, 513.

41 See Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 323, 349–50, and the diary entries for 6 and 7 March 1846 in Resa med Jenny Lind: Sällskapsdamen Louise Johanssons Dagböcker (Travelling with Jenny Lind: The Diaries of her Companion Louise Johansson), ed. and with introduction and commentaries by Åke Davidsson (Stockholm, 1986), 39. The Swedish text of the entry for 6 March 1846 is: ‘Var Jenny lite bättre. Men nog visite Mendel – taga ut sin rätt, ifall han kunde ha någon som gift man. Att setta 3 timmar för middag, dito 3 efter middag! Men det är sant, han är ju constnär och musickälskare. Men är det inte – mer än mysick som talas om.’ The entry for 7 March reads: ‘Var samma person lika länge med den s[k]ilnaden att hans fru var med på afton. Detta anser jag bland de olyckligaste att blifva kär i en annas maka, å detta så uppenbarligt.’ Johansson wrote ‘maka’, the feminine form of ‘spouse’, but since the only married woman present was Cécile, this may be taken as an error for ‘make’, the masculine form. For Davidsson's note on the sealing of the diary pages, see Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt., 39, note 55: ‘I dagboken har två sidor här varit hopklistrade med lack, förmodligen med hänsyn till uttalandena om Mendelssohns besök hos Jenny.’ I am grateful to Hanna Jedh of the Centre for Open Studies, University of Glasgow, for assistance with the Swedish passages used in the present study.

42 See Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 372–7, and Todd, Mendelssohn, 515–16. Lind later pointed out to Arthur Duke Coleridge where she and Mendelssohn rambled over the Rhine countryside together (see Arthur Coleridge: Reminiscences, ed. J. A. Fuller-Maitland (London, 1921), 102).

43 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 288, 323. For the extract from Hans Christian Andersen's diary for 24 January 1846, see Elias Bredsdorff, Hans Christian Andersen: The Story of his Life and Work 1805–75 (London, 1975), 174.

44 See Todd, Mendelssohn, 509. For Mendelssohn's accompanying letter to Lind of 23 December 1845, see Jenny Maude, The Life of Jenny Lind (London, 1926), 52–9. Jenny (‘Mrs Raymond’) Maude included a reproduction of Mendelssohn's letter, which shows he used the formal ‘Sie’, as well as a translation. I have used this translation. Todd's (p. 509) is identical. Regarding Andersen's feelings for Lind, see, for example, Bredsdorff, Hans Christian Andersen, 162–5.

45 For Mendelssohn's letter of 18 March 1846, see Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 358–62 (p. 361). For Lind's letter to Amalia Wichmann of 27 October 1846, see The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. W. Porter Ware and Thaddeus C. Lockard, Jr (London, 1966), 39–40 (p. 39).

46 This was at the time of the concert given by Clara Schumann and Lind in Vienna on 10 January 1847. See Robert Schumann, Tagebücher, ed. Georg Eismann and Gerd Nauhaus, 3 vols. in 4 (Leipzig, 1971–88), ii, 411. For the extract from Clara Schumann's diary (undated), see Berthold Litzmann, Clara Schumann: Ein Künstlerleben nach Tagebüchern und Briefen, 3 vols. (Leipzig, 1920), i, 147. See also Brown, A Portrait of Mendelssohn, 32. I am grateful to Katrin Frahm of the Language Centre, University of Glasgow, for assistance with the German passages used in the present study.

47 The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 47.

48 Styra Avins notes that ‘the words “pure”, “finer nature”, “nobility of spirit”, “sacred”, occur frequently’ in the letters of the Schumanns’ social circle. Johannes Brahms: Life and Letters, ed. Styra Avins, trans. Josef Eisinger and Styra Avins (Oxford, 1997), [757]. Elizabeth Sheppard's Charles Auchester indicates that the word ‘pure’ was applied very broadly in English parlance at the time. For instance, Sheppard identified a maternal figure as ‘a domestic presence of purity, kindliness, and home-heartedness’, but also described class singing exercises as ‘pure’ (i, 7, 100).

49 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 29–31 (p. 29). Mendelssohn was in Leipzig, while from early January until early April 1847 Lind was performing in Vienna. Translations of nine letters from Mendelssohn to Lind, dating from March 1846 to March 1847, were included in Holland and Rockstro's biography: i, 358–62 (18 March 1846), 388–90 (7 May 1846), 391–3 (15 May 1846), 422–3 (23 July 1846), 429–30 (23 September 1846), 433–5 (12 October 1846); ii, 7–11 (31 October 1846), 29–31 (19 February 1847), 42–4 (14 March 1847). Those from late 1846 onwards are preoccupied with Lind's contractual matters with the London opera managers Bunn and Lumley, and Mendelssohn probably anticipated that these particular letters would be shown to others.

50 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 42–4 (p. 42). For Holland and Rockstro's reference to Goldschmidt's possession of the original letters and his translations, see i, 390n., and ii, 11n.

51 Mendelssohn arrived in London on 12 April and spent the majority of his time there before leaving on 8 May. Lind arrived on 16 April and left on 5 October. The date of her arrival is as recorded in Louise Johansson's diary (Resa med Jenny Lind, ed. Davidsson, 67). Holland and Rockstro (Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 61–2) mistakenly concluded that she arrived on 17 April. See also Benjamin Lumley, Reminiscences of the Opera (London, 1864), 182. For Lind's letter of 6 May 1847 to Birch-Pfeiffer, see Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 86–7 (p. 86); for her letter of 12 August 1847 to Amalia Wichmann, see The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 52.

52 Regarding Mendelssohn's publicly known engagements during this period, see Eatock, Mendelssohn and Victorian England, 106–8, and Todd, Mendelssohn, 544–7. For Mrs Grote's recollections, see her MS ‘Memoir of the Life of Jenny Lind’, Papers of Otto Goldschmidt Concerning the Holland and Rockstro Biography (1891) of Jenny Lind, Royal Academy of Music Library, OG/2/4/2, ff. 40–1. All quotations from these Papers (hereafter RAM OG) are reproduced by permission of the Royal Academy of Music. Mrs Grote's ‘Memoir’ consists of two parts, one marked ‘1820–1846’, the other ‘1847’, though the latter was extended to include 1848. Both parts are foliated, with the main text written exclusively on the rectos, but with additional annotation on some versos. The first folio is unnumbered; the remaining folios of part I are numbered 2–36 and those of part II 37–60, the last six, at a later stage, in pencil. The pages are somewhat smaller than A4. The dinner party noted above was given by the Grotes. The guests were the leading bass Lablache, Lind, Mrs Grote's brother Edward Lewin, Lumley and Mendelssohn. When Lind began to sing, accompanied by Mendelssohn, ‘her voice trembled, and her emotion was so strong, that she was obliged to give it up!’ She later claimed that this had been due to the presence of Lablache (f. 40). Whether there were other causes cannot be known. Mrs Grote did not specify the date of the dinner, but according to Louise Johansson's diary it took place on 18 April. Johannson noted that Lind first attended a rehearsal on 26 April, two days after moving from the Grotes’ house. See Resa med Jenny Lind, ed. Davidsson, 67, 68.

53 The Grotes’ ‘town residence’ was in Eccleston Street (Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 61). For the description ‘rather far from the city’, see Lind's letter to Frau von Jaeger of 5 May 1847 (Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt., 83–4 (p. 84)). Mrs Grote recorded that the house ‘was the only residence among many which we had seen that Jenny appeared to like’ (‘Memoir of the Life of Jenny Lind’, f. 44), and Holland and Rockstro observed that the area, ‘now absorbed in the new district of South Kensington – was sufficiently retired to ensure the privacy which, indeed, formed one of its principal attractions’ (Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 79). Lind told Frau von Jaeger that ‘I have a house all to myself’, though she still had her companion Johansson with her. She also had three staff, but the implication is that they lived elsewhere.

54 Todd, Mendelssohn, 562. Todd (Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt., 560, 565) points to Chorley's observation that in late August Mendelssohn was ‘aged and sad’ and pessimistic about his longevity, and notes Mendelssohn's downcast self-description to Charlotte Moscheles in early October. However, Benedict (A Sketch of the Life and Works, 57–9), who met him between 11 and 13 October, gathered that his spirits had improved while he and his family had been in Switzerland.

55 The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 50–1 (p. 50).

56 In 1891 Lind's letters to Amalia Wichmann were owned by one of her sons (Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 300n.). They were later acquired by Porter Ware and Lockard, some, possibly all, of whose collection was included in the sale of Continental Manuscripts and Music at Sotheby's in London on 26 May 1994. A portion of these materials now constitutes the Otto Goldschmidt Papers in the Royal Academy of Music Library (RAM OG).

57 For the letter to Amalia Wichmann of 15 December 1847, see The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 54. Lind was now in Stockholm. The above quotation is followed by an abrupt change of subject: Lind wrote, ‘But I want to talk of something else now.’ Details in the holograph may show whether she broke off from writing after the emotional beginning. For the letter to Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer of 28 January 1848, see RAM OG/2/2/10. Cf. Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 201.

58 See Ruskin's letter to his father of 31 January 1849, quoted in Edward Tyas Cook, The Life of John Ruskin, 2 vols. (London, 1911), i, 232. The conversation took place the previous evening, so Ruskin's recollection of what was said would have been clear.

59 See Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 357, 352–3; see also Goldschmidt's translation of the letter to Cécile Mendelssohn that Lind enclosed with her letter to Amalia Wichmann of 11 July 1849, RAM OG/2/2/15. Lind did not date the letter, but Goldschmidt added ‘11 Juli 49’. He noted that the original was ‘in the possession of Mme Lili Wach’, that is, Mendelssohn's youngest child. It is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS M. Deneke Mendelssohn d.21, ff. 120r–122v). There are minor textual differences between Goldschmidt's translation of Lind's letter in RAM OG/2/2/15 and the version given by Holland and Rockstro. In these cases I have followed the former.

60 ‘Transcriptions from Mrs George Grote's Notebook’, RAM OG/2/4/12, f. 15r.

61 Andersen believed in late 1843 that Lind and Günther were engaged (Bredsdorff, Hans Christian Andersen, 163, 164). According to Mrs Grote's ‘Memoir’ (ff. 8–10), Günther probably first proposed marriage in late 1839. It was presumably Lind who told Mrs Grote that her reason for breaking off the engagement in 1846 was that Günther now took a close interest in another woman (Hans Christian Andersen., ff. 48–9). The ‘Memoir’ later gives a different impression of the state of the relationship between Lind and Günther, indicating that it was not in fact fully broken off at this time (f. 55). Regarding Lind's being ‘finally engaged’ to Günther in 1848, see Hans Christian Andersen., f. 56. See also Hans Christian Andersen., f. 18; note on verso of Goldschmidt's details of Lind's provincial tour, autumn 1848, RAM OG/2/4/45; and Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 169; ii, 204, 338–40. Although the ‘Memoir’ describes several stages of the engagement with Günther, it is frequently imprecise over chronology. For correspondence of 1891 between Günther and Lind's daughter, Jenny Maude, regarding her request for letters concerning Lind that he retained in his possession, see Stockholm, Kungliga Biblioteket / National Library of Sweden, Stig Berg – L. 137 – Reflexioner kring en handskriftssamling och dess – uppordnande: … [sic] och hade studerat sång för samme lärare som – Forsell, professor Julius Gunther [sic] (en gång förlovad med Jenny Lind).

62 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 238, 341–6, 354. For the quotation, see p. 342 (emphasis original). See also Lind's letter to Amalia Wichmann of 11 July 1849, RAM OG/2/2/15, which includes her reasons for breaking off the engagement, and the comment of Mary Simpson, daughter of Lind's legal adviser, the political economist and lawyer Nassau Senior, that Lind had made a very unsuitable choice (Mary Charlotte Mair Simpson, Many Memories of Many People, 3rd edn (London, 1898), 87–8).

63 Goldschmidt identified Godden as his solicitor in a letter of 13 December 1900 to John Murray, the publisher of Holland and Rockstro's biography (National Library of Scotland, MS 40456). Subsequent references to correspondence between the Goldschmidt family and members of the Murray publishing house relate to National Library of Scotland MS 40456 (a collection of items).

64 Holme, Some Things I Have Done, 34.

65 Quoted from Stainer's paper to the Committee.

66 The Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation []; The Boise Foundation [], 10–11.

67 Paragraph 29. The attention to detail in referring to the tin boxes is characteristic of the will. An anomaly is the misdating of the marriage as 1853, not 1852 (paragraph 2).

68 Paragraph 31.

69 See Brown, A Portrait of Mendelssohn, 32.

70 Lind's will, 16. Grove noted that ‘the original of this is in the possession of Madame Lind-Goldschmidt, to whom it was presented by Magnus himself’ (A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Grove, ii, 294–5). Todd (Mendelssohn, 500, note 55) indicates that Mendelssohn probably sat for Magnus during early November to early December 1845, and asserts that ‘according to Grove, Jenny Lind commissioned the portrait’, though Grove's article does not actually state this. When quoting from Lind's letter to Amalia Wichmann of 1 August 1846 referring to ‘the portrait of Mendelssohn’ (see The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 34–5), Holland and Rockstro stated that Lind owned ‘a replica of the portrait painted by Magnus, and by him presented to Mdlle. Lind, who subsequently bequeathed it to Mendelssohn's daughter, Mrs. Victor Benecke’ (Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, i, 424n.). Lind maintained contact with Marie Benecke at least from c.1856 to 1883 (see Catalogue of the Mendelssohn Papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, compiled by Margaret Crum and Peter Ward Jones, 3 vols. (Tutzing, 1980–9), ii, 113). Todd notes that her copy is now in the Bodleian Library.

71 She now focused on the oratorio and concert repertoires. Comment on her vocal deterioration was oblique – for example, the observation that she ‘remains great in all the attributes which time cannot affect’ (Musical World, 49 (1871), 464).

72 Gillian Beer (George Eliot (Brighton, 1986), 220) notes that in Daniel Deronda (1876) George Eliot identified Lind as one of three ‘models for women's attainment’, together with the actress Rachel and the traveller Lady Hester Stanhope.

73 See the letter of Lady Augusta Stanley to Queen Victoria, 21 December 1869, in The Letters of Queen Victoria, ed. George Earle Buckle, second series, 2 vols. (London, 1926), i, 634–5 (p. 635). Lind had maintained contact with Queen Victoria through performances at Buckingham Palace. Regarding Mrs Stanley (senior) as godmother, see Maude, The Life of Jenny Lind, 188. I am grateful to Miss Pamela Clark, senior archivist, Royal Archives, for information regarding Lind's contact with the royal household, and to Jennie De Protani, archivist, Athenaeum Club, for information regarding Goldschmidt's election to the Athenaeum (see also Maude, The Life of Jenny Lind, 212, regarding this).

74 The Times, 22 August 1870, 8; and 4 November 1870, 12; Morning Post, 4 November 1870, 2.

75 See entry for 14 July 1873, The Gladstone Diaries with Cabinet Minutes and Prime-Ministerial Correspondence, ed. H. C. G. Matthew, 14 vols. (Oxford, 1968–94), viii, 356, and The Times, 15 July 1873, 9.

76 See Lind's letter of 6 December [1872], in The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 147.

77 See A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Grove, ii, 253, note 2, and Todd, Mendelssohn, 27–8.

78 For Lind's letter, see Graves, The Life and Letters of Sir George Grove, 250. The generally high standard of written English suggests that Goldschmidt shared in its drafting; a letter from Lind in National Library of Scotland MS 40456 indicates that her command of idiom and spelling were not reliable. Joan Bulman asserted that Goldschmidt ‘wrote Jenny's letters’ (Jenny Lind: A Biography (London, 1956), 301).

79 Regarding Lind's demeanour, see Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 437–9, 441; Jenny Maude, ‘My Mother as I Knew Her’, Ladies’ Home Journal (Philadelphia), 14 (1897), 12–13; and Maude Valérie White, Friends and Memories (London, 1914), 300. For the quotations from Maude, see her ‘My Mother as I Knew Her’, 12–13, and The Life of Jenny Lind, 137.

80 Musical Times, 48 (1907), 246–7. Goldschmidt's appointments included being the vice principal of the Royal Academy of Music from (according to this item in the Musical Times) 1866 to 1868, under Sterndale Bennett. He had some reputation in Germany as a conductor (see Cecilia Hopkins Porter, ‘The New Public and the Reordering of the Musical Establishment: The Lower Rhine Music Festivals, 1818–67’, 19th-Century Music, 3 (1979–80), 211–24 (pp. 220, 222). His possessions included the holograph score of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C minor, K.491, now Royal College of Music Library, MS 402. I am grateful to Dr Peter Horton of the library of the Royal College of Music for information regarding this.

81 See Michael Lobban, ‘Cockburn, Sir Alexander James Edmund, Twelfth Baronet (1802–1880)’, ODNB, xii, 328–32 (p. 331), and The Times, 31 March 1871, 11. Goldschmidt brought charges against the printers of American Register (published in the United Kingdom for an American readership), Public Opinion and London Reader. He was awarded a total of £2,000.

82 See Lady St Helier (Mary Jeune), Memories of Fifty Years (London, 1909), 194–5 (p. 195): ‘Madame Goldschmidt was a very uncertain woman […]. She had been surrounded all her life by an adulation which was unparalleled. She had a husband who saw everything through her eyes, and considered everything she did and thought infallible.’

83 See The Letters of Queen Victoria, ed. Buckle, i, 257–8. Cockburn had two illegitimate children (see Lobban, ‘Cockburn, Sir Alexander James Edmund’, 328).

84 Bulman, Jenny Lind, 301.

85 See Certificates of Naturalization Granted by the Secretary of State during the Period from 25th November, 1844, to 31st December, 1900. Pursuant to the Naturalization Acts, 1844 and 1870. Index to Names (London, 1908), 119. For difficulties arising, see The National Archives of the UK (TNA): ‘Home Office: Registered Papers, Supplementary HO 144/134/A35059: Nationality and Naturalisation: Goldschmidt, Otto, from Hamburg. Certificate A3611 issued 1 August 1861: Status of infant son of a naturalised British subject under 1844 Act. L.O.O.732’.

86 Maude, The Life of Jenny Lind, 188; Musical Times, 17 (1876), 499–500.

87 For Wagner's essay, see Musical World, 47 (1869), 344–487 passim. For Sutherland Edwards's comment, see his The Prima Donna: Her History and Surroundings from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century, 2 vols. (London, 1888), ii, 37. See also A. E. Keeton, ‘The Jew in Music’, Contemporary Review, 91 (1907), [547]–53, and Musical Times, 48 (1907), 307. Lind's remark ‘[Goldschmidt] is Jewish, though as little Jew as I’ (letter to Munthe, 8 October 1851, cited by Bulman in Jenny Lind, 279) surely had an anti-Semitic element. Bulman (p. 281) stated that shortly before his marriage, Goldschmidt ‘had been baptised in the Christian faith, [Lind] herself acting as sponsor’.

88 See Holland's letter to Otto Goldschmidt of 7 October [1890], RAM OG/1/1/1/4. Following the publication of the biography, Walter wrote a diplomatically worded letter to John Murray's son (24 April 1891), but Jenny Maude recalled that he ‘resented the Harris episode being mentioned at all’, while ‘O. G. deprecated it being given prominence so soon after Gunther's [sic] exit’ (Maude's aide-memoire dated 31 July 1920, RAM OG/4/3).

89 TNA: J77/527/16091: ‘In the High Court of Justice. Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division (Divorce). Goldschmidt Mary Julia v Goldschmidt Walter Otto’.

90 Regarding the letter to Amalia Wichmann, cf. The Lost Letters of Jenny Lind, trans. and ed. Porter Ware and Lockard, 54, and Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 191, 193, 337. In his translation of the letter to Birch-Pfeiffer, Goldschmidt also marked as ‘Private & Confidential’ the passage beginning ‘Indeed, I have not yet the strength’, and part of this was omitted: cf. RAM OG/2/2/10 and Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 201–2. (Holland and Rockstro dated this letter ‘Jan. 22’; I give the date as it appears in RAM OG/2/2/10.) Regarding the passage in Lind's letter to Cécile Mendelssohn, cf. Lind's letter, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS M. Deneke Mendelssohn d.21, f. 121v; Goldschmidt's manuscript translation, RAM OG/2/2/15; and Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 353.

91 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 463, 154.

92 Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 336, 202.

93 Goldschmidt reacted to any publications that tarnished Lind's reputation. On 27 November 1887 he wrote to Murray to refute a statement, in Holland's article ‘Jenny Lind’ in Murray's Magazine, 2 (1887), 721–31 (p. 723), that Lind had described a student at the Royal College of Music as ‘her Hippopotamus’, and between 30 January and 18 February 1890 he wrote five letters complaining about the article ‘Madame Schumann and Natalie Janotha’ in Murray's Magazine, 7 (1890), 62–74.

94 See Resa med Jenny Lind, ed. Davidsson, 69. Regarding Lind's début, see, for instance, Morning Post, 5 May 1847, 5; The Times, 5 May 1847, 5; and Illustrated London News, 8 May 1847, 289, 298, 301.

95 See ‘Mrs Grote's Notebook for 1861–1864’, Library of University College, London, MS Add. 266, C1.1, 34. Mrs Grote noted here that Harris died in 1862. His later behaviour included ‘unmanly endeavours to throw blame upon Mad. Lind, & to disturb the harmony of her wedded life’. Such sources contradict the assertion made by Cecilia and Jens Jorgensen in Chopin and the Swedish Nightingale (Brussels, 2003) that ‘“Harris” must have been a codeword for Chopin’ (p. 76), since, they maintain, in 1848–9 it was actually with Chopin, not with Harris, that Lind had ‘a romance and discussed the idea of getting married’ (p. 74; see also pp. 69, 75, 80). Likewise, again referring to Harris, their contention that Lind ‘never made any reference in her letters, which could apply to such a short-lived engagement’ (p. 75) is negated by Lind's letter to Amalia Wichmann of 11 July 1849 (see note 62 above). Mrs Grote's references to Chopin in her ‘Memoir’ link him with Lind only on an occasion in 1848 when he played in a ‘soiree’ at which Lind was due to sing, accompanied by ‘the great Thalberg’, but she did not appear, apparently in order to conserve her energies for an opera performance on the following night, and on another occasion when Lind and Mrs Grote together visited Chopin in Paris in 1849 (‘Memoir’, ff. [57]–[59], 15). Mrs Grote dismissed rumours that her brother Edward Lewin and Lind had married in 1847 (‘Memoir’, ff. 51v–52v). It may have been rumours of an engagement to Lewin that Lind denied in her letter to Amalia Wichmann of 12 August 1847 (Holland and Rockstro, Memoir of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt, ii, 335).

96 ‘Transcriptions from Mrs George Grote's Notebook’, f. 21r. It has not been possible to locate the account to which Mrs Grote referred here.

97 For Walter and Ernest Goldschmidt's occupations, see the documentation of Probate and registration of Otto Goldschmidt's will, dated 9 May 1907. Regarding Jenny Maude's marriage (1878), see A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, the Privy Council, Knightage and Companionage. By Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arts. And Ashworth P. Burke [], 69th edn (London, 1907; hereafter Burke's Peerage 1907), 822. Regarding the Hawarden family, see, for example, Burke's Peerage 1907, pp. ix, 600, 820–3, and Virginia Dodier, ‘Maude, Clementina, Viscountess Hawarden (1822–1865)’, ODNB, xxxvii, 395–7.

98 For the presentation at court, see The Times, 15 May 1900, 12; for the marriage, see The Times, 1 June 1904, 6, and Burke's Peerage 1907, 822.

99 See The Letters of Fanny Hensel to Felix Mendelssohn, trans. and ed. Marcia J. Citron ([Stuyvesant, NY], 1987), 212, 218, 223. See also Larry R. Todd, Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn (New York, 2010), 215.