Mozart &
Material Culture


The Mozart family visited the British Museum in July 1765, at which time Leopold presented the museum with the engraved family portrait by Carmontelle, the autograph of the motet God is our Refuge K20 and copies of Mozart’s printed sonatas K6-9.[1]

According to the Europäische Zeitung for 6 August 1765, in a report sent from London on 5 July:

  1. The Museum Britannicum asked not only for the sonatas published in Paris as well as those published here, together with the portrait of this accomplished family, but also for an original manuscript of this Wunderkind, including a short chorus for four voices to English words.[2]

The gift was acknowledged by the Museum secretary, Matthew Maty, on 9 July 1765: 

  1. Sir. I am ordered by the Standing Committee of the Trustees of the British Museum, to signify to You, that they have received the present of the musical performances of your very ingenious Son, which You were pleased lately to make Them, and to return You their Thanks for the same.
W. A. Mozart, God is our Refuge K20, autograph manuscript

W. A. Mozart, God is our Refuge K20, autograph manuscript

To listen to a recording, click here(Note: The recording is held in SoundCloud, which will open in a new browser window.  If you start the recording and click back to this window, you'll be able to follow the score while the recording is played. You will then need to close the SoundCloud window.)

[1] While it might be expected that Mozart’s gift to the museum would include his most recent sonatas K10-15, published in London earlier in 1765, the wording of an article in the Europæische Zeitung, published at Salzburg in August 1765, suggests that the sonatas were the Parisian sets K6-7 and K8-9 and did not include K10-15: ‘[London]. The British Museum received . . . the sonatas published in Paris and publicized here. . .’. The copy of K10-15 that survives in the British Library (shelfmark R.M.11.f.5.) was presented by the Mozarts to Queen Charlotte.

[2] Georg Nikolaus Nissen, Biographie W. A. Mozarts (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1828), 78-79.