Edward Jones (harpist)

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Edward Jones (March 1752 – 18 April 1824) was a Welsh harpist, bard, performer, composer, arranger, and collector of music.[1] He was commonly known by the bardic name of "Bardd y Brenin", which he took in 1820, when King George IV, his patron, came to the throne.

Jones was born in Llandderfel, near Bala, and is remembered for his three-volume work, the Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards.:[2]

  1. The Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784)
  2. The Bardic Museum (1802) Musical and Poetical Relics of the Welsh Bards; Preserved by Tradition from very remote antiquity. To the Bardic tunes are added Variations for the Harp, Piano-forte, Violin or Flute... Likewise a general history of the Bards, and Druids, from the earliest period to the present time.
  3. Lyric Airs (1804) consisting of Specimens of Greek, Albanian, Walachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish National Songs and Melodies (being the first selection of the kind ever yet offered to the public:) to which are added, Basses for the Harp, or Piano-forte. Likewise are subjoined, a few explanatory notes on the figures and movements of the Modern Greek Dances; with a short dissertation on the Origin of the Ancient Greek Music. Most respectfully dedicated to Mrs. Musters by the editor, Edward Jones, Bard to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
  4. A Selection of most Admired and Original German Waltzes, never before published; adapted for the Harp, or Piano-Forte. (1806)
  5. Hen Ganiadau Cymru (1820)

He first came to London in 1775, and was patronised by prominent Welshmen and by Charles Burney. He played in the Bach-Abel concerts which were London’s first subscription concert series, started in 1765. He became harp tutor to several wealthy families, and in about 1790 was made Harp-Master to the Prince of Wales. In 1805 he moved into the Office of the Robes, St James's Palace.

Jones suffered significant financial difficulties in his later life and, as well as seeking loans, was forced to sell some of his collection.[3][4]

Three of his published works include frontispieces by Thomas Rowlandson.

The remainder of his library was sold at auction the year following his death.[5]



  1. ^ Joan Rimmer, "Edward Jones's Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards, 1784: A Re-Assessment", The Galpin Society Journal, Vol. 39 (September 1986), pp. 77-96
  2. ^ Edward Jones, Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards: preserved by tradition, and authentic manuscripts, from very remote antiquity; never before published. London, 1784
  3. ^ Herbert, Trevor (September 2009). "Jones, Edward [Bardd y Brenin] (1752–1824)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  4. ^ A Catalogue of a Portion of the Curious Library of Mr. Edward Jones, Bard to the King, Containing Some Extremely Rare Tracts and Volumes on Music, Together With a Large Collection of Old Ballads and Songs ... Sold by Auction, by Mr. Sotheby...March 20, 1823, and Five Following Days. [London]: Samuel Sotheby, 1823.
  5. ^ A Catalogue of the ... Library of ... Mr. Edward Jones, Bard to the King, Containing an Extremely Rare Collection of Music and Works on Music, Pageants and Archery ... Sold by Auction, by Mr. Sotheby ... Feb. 7th, 1825. [London]: Samuel Sotheby, 1825.

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