This innovative study examines the place and practice of musical life in eighteenth-century England among the upper classes. Focusing on the home, it shows how domestic music-making was shaped by socio-cultural forces while itself contributing to socio-cultural formation. The evidence examined is extremely broad, but particular attention is given to visual representations of music in paintings, drawings and prints: one hundred illustrations are discussed. The author considers in detail the problematics of imagery itself, analysing both the ideological and the semiotic content of the visual image. Other material analysed includes the music of the period, instruction manuals, tracts on education, courtesy and conduct books, sermons, letters, diaries and memoirs, fictional writing and journalism.
'Refreshingly original ... Leppert's work is distinguished not only for its originality, but for its establishment of an important and unchallengable place for music in comparative studies ... will prove at least as valuable for art historians as for sociomusicologists.' The Musical Quarterly