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George Baillie Collection of Music Manuscripts

Identifier: Coll-1061

Scope and Contents

This collection contains music manuscripts dating mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, which belonged to George Baillie. It mostly consists of arias and cantatas by composers such as Giovanni Bononcini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Giovanni Pergolese, George Handel, and many more. Most of the manuscripts are in Italian.

A few later manuscripts from the 20th century have obviously been subsequently added to the collection, although there is no information on their provenance.


  • Creation: 1700-1830; 20th century

Language of Materials

English Italian

Biographical / Historical

George Baillie was born on 16 March 1664. He was the son of Robert Baillie of Jerviswood and, through his mother Rachel, grandson of Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, Edinburgh, Lord Warriston in the Cromwellian Parliament.

Baillie’s father was executed in 1684 on a charge of complicity in the Rye House plot, and after the execution the younger Baillie fled to Holland with his father’s political associate, Sir Patrick Hume, who later became the 1st Earl of Marchmont. When William of Orange ascended the throne, Baillie returned to Scotland and played a prominent role as a leader of the Squadrone, whose votes gave the Act of Union a majority in the Scottish Parliament. Earlier, in September 1691 he married Grisell, the daughter of Sir Patrick Hume.

He served in the Scottish Parliament as MP for Berwickshire, 1693-1698, and 1700-1701, and MP for Lanarkshire 1703-1707. Then in the British Parliament he served as a Lord Commissioner of Trade, 1710-1712, as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, 1714-1717, and as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, 1717-1725.

Between May 1731 and October 1733, Baillie spent time in Italy with his wife. In 1734 he stood down from his Parliamentary career, and on 6 August 1738 he died.


23 manuscript volumes (5 standard boxes)

Physical Location

E2005.15; E2011.39

Physical Location

See individual items.

Custodial History - Previous references

Much of the material currently contained within the George Baillie Collection has noted upon it the P-purchase number and shelfmark of its older location in the Reid Music Library. These aids are noted in the 'Previous reference' field of each description for the benefit of those having accessed the material in the older location.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession nos: E2005.15; E2011.39.

Processing Information

Initially catalogued by Graeme Eddie in 2015. Item-level descriptions added by Aline Brodin in March 2018, drawing upon a box list created by Chris Nex in November 2017.

George Baillie Collection of Music Manuscripts
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379