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Christopher Simpson's 'Months and Seasons' for viols and continuo

 Single Item
MSS. Mus. Sch. c. 54-57 (Former reference: Music School B. 6. 31-34)

  • Request

12 fantasias ('The Months') and a companion set of four suites ('The Seasons'), for treble viol, 2 bass viols and basso continuo [VdGS C.SIMPSON-5, nos. 1-24].

Four part-books, copied for Edward Lowe by John Lillye, 1668 (iv, fol. 1v). The treble book contains a quire of 4 leaves (fols. 1-4) from an unfinished copy in a different hand, including the end of 'April', 'May' and 'June'.

On the 1682 list of the Music School Collection. A further description of this manuscript by J.P. Wainwright is kept in the Music office and can be supplied on request.


  • Creation: 1668


1 box (4 volumes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Mus. Sch. c. 54-57, fols. 1-2].

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MSS. Mus. Sch. c. 54-57 (Former reference: Music School B. 6. 31-34)

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17542


Christopher Simpson's 'The Months and The Seasons' for treble, 2 basses and basso continuo, 1668.

Biographical / Historical

Christopher Simpson (c 1602/1606-1669) was a theorist, composer and viol player. See Grove Music Online for further details.

Other Finding Aids

Robert Hake, [Catalogue of the Music School Collection], c 1850-1855. No. XXXIII, vols. 1-4.

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, nos. 26418-26421.

Viola da Gamba Society Thematic index of music for viols [online] (VdGS)

RISM 800273150

Custodial History

The Music School collection of printed and manuscript music was originally bequeathed to the University of Oxford by William Heather (c 1563-1627), and gradually added to until the end of the 18th century. The present items were owned and then donated by Edward Lowe.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred to the Bodleian in 1885.


  • Ashbee, Thompson and Wainwright, The Viola da Gamba Society Index of manuscripts containing consort music, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001-2008) [and online (VdGS)], vol. 1, pp. 100-102.

Physical Facet

Four part-books: 43, 42, 36 and 26 leaves respectively, with 19, 20, 15 and 13 leaves respectively at the end of each part book blank. Quiring irregular. Watermark (except MS. Mus. Sch. c. 54, fols. 1-4), Fleur de Lys, countermark IBS; endpapers watermark, Fleur de Lys, countermark AI (both as MS. Mus. Sch. c. 58 (?)). 12 staves to a page, marginal ruling in red at both edges. Copied before binding. MS. Mus. Sch. c. 54, fols. 1-4 has watermark Foolscap, countermark D. I. (?). 10 staves to a page, marginal ruling in red. Vellum binding. Titles written on front cover by E. Lowe.


Upright folio

'Months and Seasons' by Christopher Simpson
EAD version 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom