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Henry John Gauntlett

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Biography

An exceptionally gift­ed or­gan­ist, Gaunt­lett was well known in 19th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish mu­sic cir­cles. He was al­so, in turn, law­yer, au­thor, or­gan de­sign­er, and or­gan re­ci­tal­ist.

His fa­ther, Hen­ry Gaunt­lett, was Cur­ate at Well­ing­ton Par­ish Church, Sa­lop, Eng­land, where Hen­ry John was born. Hen­ry had two sis­ters, Ly­dia and Ar­a­bel­la, both ac­comp­lished mu­si­cians. When his fa­ther moved to Ol­ney, Buck­ing­ham­shire, in 1814, he int­end­ed the two girls to share the post of or­gan­ist, but the young Gaunt­lett per­suad­ed his fa­ther to ap­point him ins­tead. With­in six months, be­ing taught by his mo­ther, he was pro­fi­cient enough to take up the post. Lat­er, he took less­ons from Wes­ley. Att­wood, a pu­pil of Mozart, want­ed to ap­point him as his as­sist­ant at St. Paul’s Ca­thed­ral, Lon­don. Gaunt­lett the el­der dis­cour­aged his son from be­com­ing a pro­fess­ion­al mu­si­cian, be­liev­ing they were sub­ject to too ma­ny tempt­a­tions of the flesh! Con­se­quent­ly, Hen­ry the young­er be­came a law­yer and moved to Lon­don, where he prac­ticed with his br­other.

In 1827 he took up his first post as or­gan­ist at St. Ol­ave, South­wark. It was here he be­gan his cam­paign for the re­form of or­gan de­sign, which was to bring him in­to such con­flict with the es­tab­lished or­gan world.

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