LAST MODIFIED Monday 9 July 2018 9:19

Sophia Letitia Davis, of Dublin, Sligo, and Hobart

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Sophia Letitia Davis, of Dublin, Sligo, and Hobart", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 22 November 2018

DAVIS, Sophia Letitia (Miss JONES; Mrs. J. W. DAVIS

Soprano vocalist, teacher of singing, piano, guitar, musicseller

Born Ireland, c.1799/1800
Married James Wentworth DAVIS, by c.1825
Arrived Hobart, TAS, 22 June 1832 (per Lindsay, from Sligo, Ireland)
Died Hobart, 8 July 1850, aged 51 years (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

DAVIS, James Wentworth (senior)

Stationer, music seller

Died Gippsland, VIC, 1853 (TROVE public tag)


As of 2017, Sophia Davis's musical and other papers have been acquired from her Pullman family descendents by the State Library of Victoria. 

Sophia Letitia Davis (Jones) died in Hobart on 8 July 1850, aged 51. Details of her birth have not yet been traced, either in Ireland or England. Her father is thought to have been an Anglican clergyman, and a Letitia Jones, listed with a residential address in Dublin, may have been her widowed mother. Sophia was evidently a soprano of considerable range and power, and probably a pupil of the composer and conductor Haydn Corri (1785-1860), son of Domenico Corri, in 1819-20. Her surviving papers include a page of manuscript instructions headed "The Delivery of the Voice", and signed "H. C." (reproduced in Pullman 1982, opposite page 12), and a letter of recommendation from Corri on her capacities as an organist.

George Alexander Hodson (c.1790-1863), music director at Frederick Jones's (probably not a relative) Crow Street Theatre in Dublin, dedicated to a "Miss Jones" his song Haste idle time upon publication in 1818. On the circumstantial evidence (the song was bound first in one of Sophia's Dublin music albums), she may have been the Miss Jones in question, though this is by no means sure. Sophia's marriage to James Wentworth Davis, of Mall, at some time a Sligo tobacco farmer, is not registered in Irish Church Records online, however the baptism of their only surviving child, James Wentworth Davis junior, took place at St. George's, Dublin, on 12 June 1826 (

Among Sophia's papers (Pullman family) is a handwritten draft of a concert program she was to give at Sligo in August 1830, in which she was to be assisted by Miss Letitia Falkner, and Mr. Falkner, Principal Tenor Singer of the Lord Lieutenant's Dublin Chapel Royal, and a yet-to-be-named Master of the Band. The program included songs, duets, and glees by Bishop, Braham, Horn, Barnett, and Stevenson, as well as (for Sophia to sing) Rossini's Tu che accendi and Di piacer. Her surviving papers also include an autograph letter (4 July 1829) to Davis from the singer Angelica Catalani (1780-1849), the most famous operatic soprano in Britain at the time, and a professional letter of reference, concerning her capacities as an organist, from Haydn Corri (30 July 1831).

Family tradition has it that the Davis family left Ireland for Van Diemen's Land because of the political unrest, contagion (cholera had claimed their daughter) and tobacco blight. They arrived in Hobart on 22 June 1832 (per Lindsay, from Sligo). James established himself first as a farmer and horticulturalist on their property, Waverly Park, at Kangaroo Point. In Hobart Town, Sophia first set herself up in practice as a music teacher (professor of music, pianoforte and singing) and public singer. The collection includes her (slightly incomplete) copy of a rare early English quarto edition (c.1810) of Haydn's The Creation, from which she sang solo arias in oratorio concerts in Hobart in 1834. Her relatively short colonial career as a "public singer", following her first concert advertisement in July 1832, peaked in 1833-24 in Hobart, in concert and oratorio collaborations with John Philip Deane, William Russell, Joseph Reichenberg, and George Peck. She met with her first serious local competition as leading soprano when the much younger professional actor and vocalist Maria Taylor made her local concert in November 1833.

As a teacher, one of Sophia's Hobart vocal pupils was Margaret Barron (daughter of the baker Patrick Barron). Papers in the family collection, and other documentation, suggest that she taught music to the families of the lieutenant governor (George Arthur), chief justice (John Pedder), and perhaps also the colonial secretary (John Burnett). Among her papers are also several invitation cards to events at the Arthurs' Government House. Sophia also spent a month in Launceton over Christmas 1834 and the New Year of 1835, advertising there as a teacher and music-seller, and ending her time in the town by giving a concert, with help from local musicians, including the violinist Munce junior, flautist Curzon, and cellist Thomas Leaman Beckford.

On returning to Hobart in January 1835 she and James opened a retail store at 23 Elizabeth-Street, him as a horticultural supplier, she as a music seller and stationer (though music was also advertised under James's name), adding toys and fancy goods and a circulating library in the adjoining house. She imported and sold sheet music, musical instruments, and in particular pianos. Her papers include documentation of several shipments, as well as autograph letters to her from one of her most regular suppliers, the London piano-maker, Thomas Tomkison (d.1853). However, after the end of 1836 her name is replaced by that of her husband in all advertisements for the business, musical or otherwise, and thereafter she largely disappears from notice by the Tasmanian press.

Sophia and her husband moved themselves and their family from Hobart in 1845. James and their son James landed at Port Phillip in April. In 1845 they resettled in Gippsland, on a pastoral run they had purchased from William Wade (he had established it in 1843) bringing the music and a piano with them. A bill of lading for shipping the piano on the Ageora dated 29 August 1845 has since been lost, but her papers still include an invoice from W. Hamilton, Upholsterer Cabinet Maker and Undertaker, Elizabeth Street, Hobarton, to Mr. J. W. Davis for removing and packing a piano forte on board ship, dated 28th August 1845. According to family tradition, it was the first piano in Gippsland. They and their servants and hired workers planted a large garden and fruit trees and enlarged and improved Wade's hut. James described it in 1848 as "a very comfortable weather-boarded cottage, and out offices" (Ettie Pullman 1982, 121). Davis's claim to the land was rejected by the government, and in 1849 he sold the cottage to the Rev. Willoughby Bean (Lawrence at al. 2009, 69).

Sophia herself lived in Gippsland only briefly; she became ill and returned to Hobart for treatment. She died there in 1850. But the Davis family continued in Gippsland and were pioneers of the area, notably her son, James Wentworth Davis junior. He was also a capable amateur musician, having been taught by his mother, and was probably responsible for purchasing the small amount of post-1850 music in the family collection.

Sophia's personal music collection survives largely intact, and includes 8-10 large quarto albums (approx. 300mm height), all bound in Dublin (c.1830), the contents consisting of printed sheet music, published in Dublin and London, dating from c.1800 to 1830, the majority up-to-date theatrical and opera songs, and piano pieces and arrangements from the 1820s. Each volume contains between approximately 30 and 45 separate titles. Notable among the contents are rare English editions of two-piano arrangements of Haydn's Salomon Symphonies and opera songs by Mozart and Michael Kelly; a rare original London printed edition (c.1823) of Henry Bishop's Home, sweet home, and manuscript copies of piano sonatas by James Hook. A great deal of the music has performer's and/or teacher's light pencil annotations. A few other printed sheet music titles from the 1830s and 1840s were acquired by Sophia in Hobart or Sydney, including two items from Sydney music retailer and publisher Francis Ellard, whom she had almost certainly known earlier in Dublin. Until it was aqcuired by the late Ettie Pullman (descendant, family historian, and professional genealogist), the collection was stored for much of last century in the family home at Waverley, Yarram, South Gippsland, where the Davis family had first settled in the mid 1840s.


Haste idle time, the celebrated pollacca as introduced as introduced by Miss Byrne with unbounded applause in The haunted tower, composed and dedicated to Miss Jones by G. A. Hodson, the words . . . by F. N. Bellchamber (Dublin: I. Willis, n.d. [1818])

Copy in family collection; another copy at National Library of Ireland

Compare also:


The following is a small selection of relevant documenation; for further online documentation, see also: (TROVE public tag)

[Advertisement], Sligo Journal (8 July 1828), 4

Musical Education. ITALIAN AND ENGLISH SINGING, PIANO FORTE, &c. &c. MRS. DAVIS, respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry of Sligo and its environs, that she will give instructions in the above branches of accomplishment. Educated by some of the most eminent Masters, and her method having been sanctioned by the approval of families of the first distinction, she flatters herself, from her long experience in teaching in Dublin, she may merit the approbation of those families who may honor her with an engagement. Has no objection to attend families in the Country - Cards of her Terms may be had at her Lodgings at Mr. HENRY's, Knox's-street. Sligo, July 8, 1828.

[Advertisement], Sligo Journal (22 August 1828), 1

[As avove]

[Advertisement], Sligo Observer (2 July 1829), 3

Letter, from Angelica Catalani (de Valabrègue), Sligo, 4 July 1829, to Sophia Davis; Pullman family collection (reproduced courtesy of Sandi Pullman)

Sligo 4 juillet 1829. Madame, Votre talent a eu une part Si active au concert d'hier au Soir, que je m'en voudrais a moi meme, de quitter cette Ville, Sans Vous Remerciee encore de l'assistance que vous m'avez d'obligessement pretée On Rencontre dans ces pays ci peu de personnes, donnés d'une meilleure methode que la votre, et votre voix que vous avez cultivée avec le plus Grand succès est distingue, par des qualitées aussi utiles que necessaires, la flexibilité, et la pureté d'intonations Permettez [?] moi de vous assurer que toutes les fois qu'il se presentera pour moi l'occasion de louer votre science musicales et l'amabilité de vos dispositions, j'en profiterai avec non moins d'[?] que de justice croyez a mon estime et a mon considération, A. de Valabrègue, nèe Catalani.

Sligo 4 July 1829. Madam, you were kind enough to take so active a part in the concert of yesterday evening, that I owe it to myself not to leave this town without again thanking you for the assistance which you have so obligingly afforded me. It is rare in this country to meet with a person gifted with so good a method as yours, and your voice, which you have cultivated with the greatest success, is distinguished by qualities as useful as they are indispensable, flexibility and purity of intonation. Permit me to assure you that whenever an occasion may offer of praising your musical science and the urbanity of your disposition I shall avail myself of it, not less from inclination than from justice. Believe in the esteem and consideration of, A. de Valabregue nèe Catalani.

Manuscript draft [for an advertisement] of a concert program, Sligo, August 1830; Pullman family collection (reproduced courtesy of Sandi Pullman)

[News] and [Advertisement], Sligo Journal (5 August 1830), 3

We beg to direct the particular attention of our readers to Mrs. DAVIS's advertisement, which promised so rich and, in Sligo, rare a treat to the lovers of vocal and instrumental Music. Mrs. DAVIS, who is herself generally known to be possessed of an exquisite taste for Singing and for performing on the Piano-forte, and who, it will be recollected, was highly complimented by that Empress of Song, Madame CATALANI, - deserves the highest encouragement for the pains she has taken to congregate the eminent performers whose names appear in her advertisement. We would recommend an early application for seats, as a very full audience of the gentry of town and country is expected.

[Advertisement], Sligo Journal (6 August 1830), 1

[As above]

"PUBLIC CONCERT", Sligo Journal (6 August 1830), 4

On Wednesday next Mrs. DAVIS will hold her vocal and instrumental concert in the Court-house of this town, and if we may judge by "the bill of fare" which appears in our advertising columns, comprising every thing sublime, rich, and beautiful, to found among the collections of the first Composers, we can promise the gentry and public of Sligo, such treat of sweet soundss they have seldom had opportunity of being indulged with. In addition to Mrs. Davis's own pleasing and varied powers, she has brought from Dublin several of the first vocal and instrumental performers, and has spared no expense to render it at once attractive and worthy of the high patronage which she has obtained.

[Advertisement], Sligo Journal (1 October 1830), 3

MUSICAL EDUCATION. Italian and English Singing, Piano-Forte, Guitar, &c., &c. MRS. DAVIS RESPECTFULLY informs the Nobility and Gentry of Sligo and its vicinity that she continues to give instruction in the above accomplishments, as also in SACRED MUSIC. Mrs. D. takes the opportunity of announcing, that she has for sale two PIANO-FORTES of Tomkinson's [sic] make, Circular, and with with extra additional keys, which for sweetness and brilliancy of tone cannot be surpassed, and had arrived to her from Dublin, a choice assortment of Vocal and Instrumental MUSIC. Mall, Sligo, 30th September 1830.

Letter of reference, from Haydn Corri, Dublin, 30 July 1831; Pullman family collection (reproduced courtesy of Sandi Pullman)

"TRADE AND SHIPPING", The Hobart Town Courier (29 June 1832), 3

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (29 June 1832), 2

Our musical friends will be pleased to learn that the art has received a valuable acquisition in the recent arrival of Mrs. Davis and Mr. Russel, both very eminent professors both vocal and instrumental.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (29 June 1832), 3 

MUSICAL EDUCATION. MRS. DAVIS having arrived in the Colony, within the last week, begs to inform the public of Hobart town, and its vicinity, that she intends giving instruction in Italian and English ringing, Piano For[t]e, Guitar, as also in Sacred music, &c. Mrs. D. trusts that the circumstance of having been educated by some of the most eminent masters, and her method of teaching, sanctioned by the approval of persons of the first distinction & talent, together with her long experience, may entitle her to the approbation of those families who may avail themselves of her tuition. Mrs. D. intends giving a Concert, which will be duly announced. Terms may be known, on application at her residence in Liverpool-street, (late the British Hotel.) N. B. Mrs. D. has brought out for sale, a choice selection of the newest and most popular music, both vocal and instrumental. Liverpool-st,, June 28, 1832. 

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (29 June 1832), 2 

Our musical friends will be pleased to learn that the art has received a valuable acquisition in the recent arrival of Mrs. Davis and Mr. Russel, both very eminent professors both vocal and instrumental.

On William Russell (c.1798-1892) see: 

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (3 August 1832), 1 

CONCERT. MRS. DAVIS, respectfully announces to the Public of Hobart Town and its vicinity, that her CONCERT will take place in the Court House, on Tuesday the 7th August, 1832.
Part 1st.
Overture, "Caliph of Bagdad" .. .. Boildin [Boildieu]
Cavitina, "Di piacer" Mrs. Davis .. .. Rossini.
Quintetto .. .. Haydn.
Song - "Macgregor's gathering" the celebrated Scotch song, Mrs. Davis .. .. A. Lee.
Trio - Flutes .. .. Nicholson.
Song - "Woman's smiles and woman's tears", Amateur .. .. Conran.
Solo violin - Mr. Russell, accompanied by Mrs. Davis on the Piano Forte .. .. Rossini.
Glee, "Hark Apollo strikes the Lyre" Bishop.
Part 2nd.
Overture .. .. Paer.
Song, "The Mocking Bird" with obligato flute, Mrs. Davis .. .. Bishop.
Duetto, Two violins, Messrs. Russell and Dean .. .. Romberg.
Song, "Oh, no we never mention her," Mrs. Davis, accompanied by herself on the guitar .. .. Bishop.
Solo flute .. .. Nicholson.
Glee, "Yes, 'tis the Indian drum" .. .. Bishop.
Song, "The dashing white Serjeant" Mrs. Davis .. .. Bishop.
Finale, "God save the King", as newly arranged by Sir J. Stephenson [Stevenson].
Doors to open at half past seven. Concert to begin at a quarter past eight precisely. Tickets 7s. 6d. each, (for the admission of children under 10 years 5s.) to he had at Mr. Deane's Circulating Library, of Mr. Wood, Stationer, Liverpool street, and of Mrs. Davis, at her residence, Liverpool street, late the British Hotel. Hobart town, July 20, 1832.

[News], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (3 August 1832), 4 

We are sorry that the correction of the bill of performance at Mrs. DAYIS'S Concert, as announced in the handbills, did not reach us in time for insertion in proper form. In place of Mr. Russell's solo on the violin, Mrs. Davis will sing the song by BAYLEY, "Sleep on thy Pillow,' and MR. REICHENBERG will perform the duett on violins, with Mr Deane.

John Philip Deane, and Joseph Reichenberg.

[News], Colonial Times (9 October 1832), 2

It is with no trifling degree of pleasure that we look forward to the proposed Concert of Mrs. Davis and Mr. Deane. Mr. Deane's known tact and ability in the management of a musical treat of this description, coupled with the vocal attraction of Mrs. Davis, hold out no inconsiderable prospect for a real entertainment. Several amateurs are spoken of as likely to assist on the occasion, and a violin solo, by Mr. Russell will be an extra inducement for very many to attend the Concert. We have usually thought, that the Concerts of this place have rather been wanting in variety; those of Mr. Deane, have generally had a preponderance of instrumental music, and Mrs. Davis's, (however delighted we might be with that lady's vocal abilities) impressed upon our mind at the the time, that there was too much of Mrs. Davis. The one now however in prospect, will combine all the talents, and a variety will follow as a matter of course.

{News], Colonial Times (7 August 1832), 3 

We are happy to find that the little misunderstanding between Mrs. Davis and Mr. Russel, has been arranged, and that the public favorite, Mr. Russel, will perform this evening, as first advertised. Our professionals are not yet sufficiently numerous to allow differences; if they join not hand and heart together, the public will care little for them, or their absurd bickerings. It is too much to imagine that support will be given to either one or the other side of a party question, such as that which had nearly arisen; indeed, in a small town like this, the whole corps may think itself fortunate if it obtains the encouragement it deserves.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (10 August 1832), 2 

Mrs. Davis's concert was exceedingly well attended on Tuesday, the Court house being filled to the doors. The performances gave very general satisfaction, the public of Hobart town being much delighted at so valuable additions to their stock of musical talent as Mrs. Davies and Mr. Russel have brought. We are pleased to see the public taste so much given to the enjoyment of so rational and innocent an amusement as these concerts afford.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (17 August 1832), 3 

MUSICAL EDUCATION. Italian and English Singing, Piano Forte, Guitar, &c. MRS. DAVIS begs leave to announce to the inhabitants of Hobart town and its vicinity, that she continues to give Instruction in the above accomplishments. Mrs. D. understanding that her terms have been represented to many families much exaggerated, requests that those persons wishing to avail themselves of her tuition may apply at her residence, where her cards can be seen, and from which it will appear that her terms for early pupils are much less than by the quarter or set of lesson. Liverpool-street, Aug. 10, 1832.

[News], Colonial Times (6 November 1832), 2 

On Thursday last, Mrs. Davis, and Mr. Deane's concert, was held at the Court-house. From various circumstances connected with political affairs, many parties absented themselves, who are generally patrons of these entertainments. The chief vocal attraction was, of course, Mrs. Davis; and each performer would require some panegyric in his favor, had we but room to extend our present observations. Success has always crowned Mr. Deane's exertions on these musical festivals, so much so, that other parties are preparing to give similar concerts; but, although hitherto the concerts have been well attended, we much question whether they would be, were there any diversion among the few professionals, capable of entertaining the public. Time will shew whether our views are not correct.

[News], Colonial Times (20 November 1832), 2

Yesterday evening the entertainment of Mrs. Davis and Messrs. Deane and Ray went off in grand style. The first part, consisting of a Concert, and the latter, with Mr. Ray "at Home". The band of the 63d regiment assisted, and the variety was sufficient to attract a full house, even in these hard times. In the first part of the Concert, the song of "Sleep on thy pillow" was sung by Mrs. Davis in excellent style, and received its merited applause, Mr. Ray does not shine as a musician, his voice is rather powerful in the lower notes, and the falsetto decent, especially the upper tones, but he has little idea of cleverly passing from his natural voice to the falsetto - there is a degree of difficulty when he arrives at passages requiring the blending of the two - beside one very serious drawback to Mr. Ray, being considered a good musician, is that, his ear is by no means perfect, and he frequently gives whole passages far from being in tune. Rossini's "Overture" was performed in a masterly style, indeed the manner in which the parts were got up, would have done credit to a band at a Theatre Royal. Immediately after the overture, the company called upon Mrs. Davis to favor them with "Di piacer." We have been present at many musical entertainments, but we never witnessed such an outrageous proceeding, as an audience, sans cérémonie, suddenly to insist upon the performance of a difficult Italian air; however, Mr. Davis finding that she had a good-humoured audience, good-naturedly enough determined to gratify them, and "Di piacer" was given with a piano forte accompaniment only, Mrs. Davis not having had time to send for the orchestral parts. The song was sung well, and deservedly encored. This lady has considerably improved since we last heard her. Whilst speaking of an audience being permitted to call for just such songs as they may think proper, we might strongly recommend that this plan should not be allowed, otherwise much inconvenience may be sustained. If the system is allowed, a concert bill will not be necessary, the singers and the musicians need but attend on the evening named and the audience can settle what songs shall he sung, and what musical pieces shall be performed. The National Anthem, is the only piece that an audience ought to be permitted to call for; this is a stock piece, and the musicians are always ready to perform it, when called upon. After the Concert, Mr. Ray was "at Home" and highly entertained the audience for some time, but there was too much of the farce, which, unless it is performed in the first style, cannot interest very long. A motion was made by one party of ladies, when Mr. Ray, very judiciously taking the hint, rapidly finished the song he was singing and making an appropriate termination of his "at Home" - concluded the entertainment; Mr. Ray, we hear, is about leaving the Colony by the Arethusa, it is said, he intends bringing to these Colonies, a regular corps dramatique, should he do so, we fear his expectations will not meet with the success anticipated.

The actor and comedian, Joseph Ray, departed for England on the Arethusa on 12 December 1832.

"The Concert", The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (23 November 1832), 2 

The Concert. On Monday evening last, the Public were entertained at the Court House, with a Melange of Vocal and Instrumental Music, combined with a Theatrical exhibition of Mr. Ray's "At Home" - the Vocal Performance by Mrs. DAVIS and Mr. RAY, &c. The instrumental by our young musical prodigy, Miss DEANE, Messrs. RUSSELL, MARSHALL, DEANE, &c. Having no regular reporter present, we are indebted to a friend for our account of this festival, which, although not quite so well attended as some others has been, surpassed in the interest and pleasure it afforded. Mrs. Davis was in excellent voice, and astonished those who had never before listened to her powers and brilliancies of tone. Mr. Ray was no less successful in delighting the audience, particularly in the song of the "Spider andFly," which he gave with considerable comic effect; both were highly applauded and encored . . .

The young pianist was John Philip Deane's daughter, Rosalie Deane.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (18 January 1833), 3 

CONCERT. MR. DEANE AND MRS. DAVIS RESPECTFULLY announce to their Friends and the Public of Hobart town and its Vicinity, that they will give their Christmas concert of Vocal and Instrumental Mussic, in the Court House, on Monday next, Jan. 21, 1833.
Overture - "Der Freischutz" - Weber.
Song - "Sing on sweet Bird," (flute obligato) Mrs. Davis - Hodson.
Solo - Violin - "Isle of Beauty" (with variations) Mr. Deane - Hayley.
Glee - "The Gipsies" - Bishop.
Duett - Two Violins, Mr. and Mas[ter] Deane - Pleyel.
Duett - "The Echo," - Braham.
Solo - Piano Forte - "National recollections of England; in which are introduced, 'God save King William', 'Britons! strike Home,' 'Poor Jack,' 'What should sailors do on Shore,' 'Hearts of Oak,' 'Halilujah Chorus,'" Miss Deane - Moscheles. Song - "Our King is a true British Sailor,' Mrs. Davis - S. May.
Glee - "The Market Chorus," - Auber.
Overture - "Masaniello," - Auber.
Song - "Una Voce poco fa," Mrs. Davis - Rossini.
Quintetto - Haydn.
Glee - "On, on to the Chase," - Savage.
Solo - "The Rose will cease to blow" - Guylott.
Solo - Flute - Nicholson.
Song - "Savourneen Delish," (the celebrated Irish Air, Mrs. Davis) as arranged by - Hodson.
Finale - Rule Britannia.
Doors to open at half past Seven, and the Concert to begin at a quarter-past eight o'clock. N.B. Tickets, 7s. each; (ditto, for Children, 5s.) to be had at Mr. Wood's, Stationer, Liverpool street; of Mr. Deane, at his Circulating Library and Music Shop, Elizabeth street; and of Mrs. Davis, at her residence, Liverpool street. Hobart town, Jan. 15, 1833.

[News], Colonial Times (22 January 1833), 2 

The Concert announced for last evening by Mr. Deane and Mrs. Davis, was not so well attended as we could have wished, but the performance generally was much applauded, and may be considered as reflecting great credit upon all parties connected with its management. Mrs. Davis sang with her usual sweetness and effect, two or three songs, and Mr. Deane acquitted himself also admirably in a solo upon the violin, as well as in a Duett with one of his sons. Upon the whole, the Concert may be said to have gone off well.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (5 July 1833), 2

The colony has recently acquired a considerable accession of musical talent in the bandmaster of the 21st fusileers who on the removal of the regiment to India, proposes, we learn, to remain and become a settler in the colony; and Mr. Peck, an experienced performer on the violin, who, we learn, has acquired most of the peculiar talents of Paganani. These being added, to our old and tried favourites Messrs. Reichenberg, Deane, Russel, Marshall, Williams, of the 63d., with several others not actual professors, in conjunction with Mrs. Davis, and other ladies of vocal acquirement, will shortly, we are glad to learn, unite their talents and delight the inhabitants of Hobart-town with a concert inferior to none out of London. Since writing the above, we observe a concert is fixed for Monday next.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (26 July 1833), 3 

MR. DEANE AND MRS. DAVIS'S FOURTH OONCERT, Assisted by MESSRS. REICHENBERG, RUSSELL, PECK AND FULHAM (Late of the Theatre Royal Dublin), WILL take place on Monday evening next, July the 29th, at the Court House, Hobart town.
Part First.
Overture, "Tancredi," - Rossini.
Glee, "Chorus of Huntsmen in Der Frieschutz," [Der Freischütz] - Weber.
Cavatina, "Una Voce poco fa," Mrs. Davis - Rossini.
Solo - piano forte, "Fall of Paris, with variations," - Miss Deane - Moschelles.
Song, "He was famed fof deeds of arms," Mr. Fulham - D. Corri.
Solo, - Violin, in which will be introduced some of the peculiarities of that celebrated performer Paganini - Mr. Peck - C. De Beriot.
Duett "My pretty page," - Mrs. Henson and Master Deane - R. H. Bishop [H. R. Bishop]
Song, "Alice Gray," - Miss Barron, a pupil of Mrs. Davis's, only 10 years of age - Hodson.
Glee, "Hark! Apollo strikes the Lyre," - H. R. Bishop.
Part Second. Overture, "La Villanella Rapita" - Mozart.
Song, "No joy without my Love," - Mrs. Davis - T. Cooke.
Solo, flute - C. Nicholson.
Song, "Auld Robin Gray," - Mrs. Henson - A. R. O. Smith.
Concerto, clarionet, orchestra accompaniement, Mr. Reichenberg - Bochsa.
Song, "Death of Nelson," - An Amateur - Braham.
Sone, "Waters of Elle," - Miss Barron - arranged by T. T. Magrath.
Song, "Dashing White Serjeant," - Mrs. Davis - H. R. Bishop.
Finale, verse and chorus, "God save the King," arranged by Stevenson.
Leader, Mr. Russell; Violin Obligato, Mr. Peck; Conductor, Mr. J. P. Deane.
Tickets 5s. each, to be had of Mr. J. P. Deane, Elizabeth street, and of Mrs. Davis and Mr. Wood, Liverpool street. The doors to be opened at half past 7 o'clock - the performance to commence at a quarter past 8 o'clock.

[News], Colonial Times (30 July 1833), 2-3

The Fourth Concert of Mr. Deane and Mrs. Davis, took place yesterday evening, and never in the Court House of Hobart Town has there been witnessed either such a numerous assemblage, or a more respectable audience. Judging from a cursory glance, we should imagine there must have been present, some three hundred and fifty persons: in fact, the room was as full as it could hold, and even then, a number of persons were obliged to remain in the Counsels' room. Many were so desirous of securing good places, that the room was half filled by the time named for the opening of the doors. Never was there in Hobart Town such a show of beauty; indeed, we were completely astonished at seeing so very many charming faces - and the dress of the ladies too, was of a style very far superior to what might have been expected in a Colony of only some five and twenty years standing. The time elapsing previously to the commencement of entertainments in all places of public amusement, is generally very tedious; at the theatres, the wit of "the gods," passing rough jokes, is amusing, and will sometimes entertain the whole house till the curtain rises. Some few of our would-be leaders of the ton - the Botany Bay fashionables, were however determined that the public, yesterday evening, should not be at a loss for amusement, and so moat kindly entertained (we might rather say disgusted) the greater portion of the company, by their indecorous and rude behaviour - these gentry, perhaps, thought themselves highly tonish, and had they been in the one shilling gallery, at "old Drury," might have appeared so, although, at the same time, we must admit that "the gods" of the two shilling gallery would most unquestionably have turned them out. The audience became impatient before the time announced for the commencement of the Concert, and the room being quite filled, it was thought advisable to begin, and Rossini's Overture to "Tancredi" was given in a style which would not have disgraced the Philharmonic. The band of the 63d regiment, in addition to the very numerous corps of professionals and amateurs, did ample justice to the piece, and had we fallen asleep, and been awoke suddenly during its performance, our first impression would have been, that we were either in a theatre or a concert-room at home.

. . . Mrs. Davis's song, "Una voce poco fà," was all very well, but the song is difficult, and Mrs. Davis sang it just as if she were practising a lesson. There was no energy - a mamby pamby affair - although all the notes were in proper tune, and the music sung correctly . . . Mr. Fulham was indisposed . . . Mrs. Davis kindly volunteered to sing Mr. Fulham's song, "He was famed for deeds of arms," and we think it was her best performance . . . There is no trifling contrast between the manner of appearance of the two ladies, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Henson; the first has all the little stage tricks, of such advantage to a public singer - nay, she has too much so; whereas Mrs. Henson, were she to copy a little from that lady, she would wonderfully improve, when presenting herself before an audience. The next piece was the old ballad, "Alice Grey" - sung by Miss Barron, a very interesting little girl, with a very pretty little voice - and, considering her age only ten years, (as the bill states) she sung the song, we believe, very prettily we say we believe, for the young lady's voice was scarcely heard by above one half the audience. She was, of course, encored - not we suppose because there was any thing prodigiously fine or musical in her singing, but because she was a pretty little infant, appearing before the public in order to do her best to give satisfaction. In the course of time, Miss Barron will no doubt become a good singer:- she has, apparently, all the requisites for a first-rate performer - nor, is a pretty face one of the least of these desirables. As to the propriety of allowing a young child to sing two songs in one evening, it is quite another affair, When adult musicians were not attainable in the Colony, it was all very well to bring forward children to supply the necessary force and interest of musical exhibitions- but when we have such a host of real good musicians, it is a pity to thrust upon the public, children, for the, purpose of taking a share in the musical performance. Children should never be brought forward, unless they have some very extraordinary talent. Last evening, the auditors assembled to hear the music, and not for the purpose of being obliged to countenance the wonderful singing of a child. If children must become musicians, and must perform before the public, why not have an infantine concert, where children shall alone perform - and to which concert every child in the town would be sent to witness the performance.

The second part commenced with Mozart's Overture, "La Villanella Rapita;" and next followed, "No Joys without my Love," sung by Mrs. Davis. It was well sung, but did not seem to please very much . . . Miss Barron's "Waters of Ella," could have been dispensed with; besides the song was too difficult for a child, and once or twice she lost herself in the cadences. She was, of course, encored. The "Dashing white Serjeant," Mrs. Davis sings remarkably well, and she was in good voice for that song. The entertainment finished with " God save the King". The whole Concert went off remarkably well, and the audience seemed more than usually satisfied. We understand the fifth Concert will soon be announced.

"To the Editor", Colonial Times (6 August 1833), 3

Sir.- In your report of the Concert, inserted in your last number, there are some remarks, very much uncalled for, respecting Miss Barron's singing. It is very evident the writer of that learned critique must have been influenced by unfair motives. In thus attempting to nip the bud of expectation, ere it scarcely became visible, your reporter on the occasion, perhaps, may have considered there were too many children for an assemblage of grown up persons -but if such was his opinion, why did he not express himself in such a manner that his observations might do good, and not hurt the feelings both of Mrs. Davis and her interesting and charming pupil, Miss Barron. That Mrs. Davis is the most splendid songstress ever heard in this hemisphere, there cannot be a question; and I maintain, that had that lady preferred an engagement in London to emigrating among such dissatisfied people as newspaper reporters and newspaper writers, she would, to a certainty, have totally eclipsed all the leading stars of the Mother Country. I am a pretty fair musician, and I heard "Una voce poco fa" sung at the Concert - I have also heard Madam Catalani and Miss Paton perform the same piece, and I maintain that Mrs. Davis's manner of singing and general style, is far preferable to either. Then why the ill-natured observations of your reporter? Fye for shame! Mr. Times - I thought you were strictly impartial - where is now your impartiality? And then, too, the charming little pupil, whom you dare say sung very prettily, but your reporter could not hear her - where was he at the time - perhaps at the Waterloo, for I hear "a gentleman connected with the 'liberal journal'" was afterwards knocked down when in a state of intoxication.* Was this your reporter, Mr. Editor? If so, it explains why he could not hear that delightful little charmer - the lovely little Miss Barron. Having no time to waste on such an illiberal, I am, your's, in haste, F.D.

* We beg leave to assure Mr F.D. that our reporter was not the gentleman who was thus maltreated.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (9 August 1833), 1 

MUSICAL EDUCATION, Italian and English Singing, Piano Forte, Guitar, &c. MRS. DAVIS begs to inform the inhabitants of Hobart town and its vicinity, that she has made arrangements to continue to give instruction in the above accomplishments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in each week, at her late residence, British hotel, Liverpool street, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Waverley park. Waverley park, Kangaroo point, August 1, 1833.

[News], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (20 August 1833), 2 

It may not be generally known, that the parents of that interesting little girl, Miss MARGARET BARRON, who sung, for the first time in public, at the last Concert, are persons in a very unpretending sphere of life, keeping a baker's shop in Liverpool-street, opposite the White Horse. - This lively little creature is only ten years of age, and is now a pupil of Mrs. DAVIS's, who introduced her at the last Concert; after only six months' instruction. The extraordinary progress she has made in so short a period in music and singing, is astonishing in a child of her tender years, and reflects great credit upon Mrs. Davis. They arrived in the Colony, per Sophia, in September last. Mr. Barron is a native of Kilkenny, where he carried on baking and public business, to a considerable extent; but, in consequence of the impoverished state of Ireland, was induced to emigrate hither. We understand that Colonel and Mrs. LOGAN take a lively interest in the welfare of the child and her parents.

[Advertisement], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (27 August 1833), 1 

Piano Fortes, Guitars, AND ARRIVAL OF NEW MUSIC. MRS. DAVIS announces to the Public, that she has received per "Curler," from the first Houses in London, a selection of Piano Fortes, of Six Octaves, circular cornered, with Patent String Plates; also Guitars with Patent Machine, Heads; all of which she will engage for durability, sweetness, and brilliancy of tone. The Music she has received is the newest, and by the most esteemed modern Composers, consisting of Songs, (English, Italian, and French,) Glees, Vocal Duetts, Piano Porte Duetts, Quadrills, Piano Forte Pieces, (for juvenile, moderate, and finished Performers,) a variety of Guitar Music, (some arranged for Piano Forte and Guitar,) Guitar Instruction Books, Violin and Flute Music, a quantity of Music Paper, Piano Forte Wire and Guitar Strings, &c. The above are this day opening for Sale, at the House of Mr. Wood, Stationer, Liverpool-street. Mrs. Davis does not hesitate to say, that a more elegant selection of Music of every description has never before been imported into this Colony. Waverly Park, August 26, 1833.

[News], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (27 August 1833), 2 

We regret to observe by one of our Contemporaries, that some would-be-all-important busy-body is seeking to sow the seeds of disunion between Mr. DEANE and Mrs. DAVIS. Our corps musique is not yet sufficiently strong to bear up against schismatic competition, and we think that any attempt to disever the interests of Mr. Deane and Mrs. Davis, as regards public Concerts, would be injurious to both parties, if it would not materially check the progress of the divine art. We deprecate such LITTLE mindedness; and we hope that the gentleman and lady in question see as we do - an enemy under the garb of friendship.

[News], Colonial Times (10 September 1833), 4

Mr. J. P. Deane, having determined in his great desire of affording innocent recreation to the inhabitants of this Town, by getting up delightful Concerts, and having fixed his "Soirees" for the evening - we understand that Mrs. Davis, that second Catalani, intends for the future to entertain her company, by holding her "Soirees" in the morning, in order that their interests may harmonize. Mrs. Davis, comes from a part of the world, called Sligo.

[News], Colonial Times (5 November 1833), 2

. . . Mrs. Henson, whose plaintive voice we have so often admired, sung much better than we ever before heard her. She appeared to feel more confident than hitherto - perhaps, she had been taking a lesson from Mrs. Davis. "Away to the Mountain's Brow" was deservedly encored - in our opinion, "Tell me my Heart" was her best performance . . . It was asked, why was not Mrs. Davis one of the performers - we believe that lady was the only one public singer who was absent. We beg to ask the same question, because, we know, she was invited to lake her place in the orchestra. The public will not be trifled with. Mrs. Davis must either cordially assist at the public Concerts, or else consider herself as a retired performer. The addition of such a real splendid singer as Mrs. Taylor to our musical corps will render the retirement of Mrs. Davis less felt; but we cannot help remarking, that more unison is required among the musical professors of Hobart Town, than is usually the case.

ASSOCIATIONS: This was the concert in which Maria Taylor made her local debut; the reviewer wrote:

. . . Mrs. Taylor, if we mistake not, is the daughter of Mr. Hill, who some twenty-five years, or more, since was the only rival dreaded by the English Apollo - as he has been termed by some of his admirers - Braham, and, as might naturally be expected, a daughter of such a musician, Mrs. Taylor is perfect in all the mysteries of harmonic science. Her voice however, is, much more adapted for the showy difficult performances, than it is for plaintive melody - Rossini should be her favorite composer . . .

Notably, Rossini was also one of Sophia's favorites; and, whether or not by coincidence, from this point, her local reputation as a concert vocalist began a slow decline.

[News], Colonial Times (31 December 1833), 3 

We beg leave to remind our leaders, that Mr. Deane's Soirée takes place as usual, to-morrow night. Mrs. Taylor will sing four favorite songs . . .

We copy the following account of the opening of the Hobart Town Theatre from the Tasmanian: - The Hobart Town Theatre opened on Tuesday last with Kotzebue's celebrated piece the Stranger . . . Between the pieces, Mrs. Cameron sang the "Swiss Toy Girl." There is a playfulness, and enchanting coquettishness in her voice and manner of address, which is highly pleasant - she is certainly not a first rate singer, and yet with the exception of Mrs. Taylor, we would sooner hear Mrs. Cameron than any other vocalist in the Colony, not excepting Mrs. Davis - she was of course encored.

ASSOCIATIONS: The actor and singer referred to was Cordelia Cameron.

[Advertisement], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (25 February 1834), 1 

New Music. MRS. DAVIS announces to the Public, that she has opened a fresh selection of Music, by the most, es teemed modern composers, consisting of Piano Forte Pieces, Songs, (English and Italian) Glees, Vocal Duets, Quadrilles, Guitar Music, and Instruction Books, Music Paper, Piano Forte Wire, Guitar Strings, of the best description, which are now for Sale at Mr. Clark's, British Hotel, Liverpool-street. Mrs. Davis takes this opportunity of informing the Inhabitants of Hobart Town, that she intends, at the commencement of the ensuing winter, returning to preside at her late residence, Liverpool street, where she will continue to give instruction in Italian and English, Singing, Piano Forte, Guitar, &c, &c, at which period she will have out from London, a splendid selection of Piano Fortes, (Cabinet and Horizontal) Guitars, and other Instruments, by the most celebrated makers; as also Music, &c, of every description. Waverly Park, 24th Feb., 1834.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (7 March 1834), 3 

ORATORIO. MR. DEANE respectfully informs the inhabitants of Hobart town and its vicinity, that a selection of Sacred Music will be performed at the Argyle Rooms, on Saturday March 15th 1834:-
PART 1st.
Grand|Symphany" Mozart.
Anthem - Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Henson and Mr. Matthall, - Our Lord is risen from the dead [Samuel Arnold]
Quartett Haydn.
Song - Mrs. Inkersole, - Lord remember David - Handel.
Solo - Piano Forte, Miss Deane - Cramer.
Song Mrs. Henson, - He was dispersed [He was despised] - Handel.
Recit. - Mrs. Davis - And God said let there be light [Haydn]
Chorus - The Heavens are telling - Haydn.
PART 2nd.
Overture Rossini.
Song - Mrs. Davis - Let the bright Seraphim - Handel.
Solo, Violin - Mr. Peck.
Song - Mrs. Inkersole, - Lord to thee each night and day - Handel.
Solo, flute Nicholson.
Anthem - Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Henson, Hear my prayer - Kent.
Chorus - Hallelujah Handel.
Door to be open at 7 o'clock, the performance will commence at 8 o'clock. N. B. - Tickets not transferable 7s. each; children 5s.

"The Oratorio . . .", Colonial Times (18 March 1834), 5

The Oratorio on Saturday last was most numerously and respectably attended, and as we anticipated, a greater treat of the kind was never afforded in Van Diemen's Land. The room was well adapted for the purpose, and the raised stage gave the whole a London appearance. We were happy to observe His Excellency was present, and under his immediate patronage a second oratorio would be equally as well supported. The evening's entertainment commenced with Mozart's grand symphony, which was correctly and remarkably well performed. The succeeding anthem was not well selected, and although correctly sung, did not seem to please the auditory . . . Mrs. Davis's best performance was "Let the bright Seraphim," and the trumpet obligato by Mr. Long, was correctly and tastefully performed . . . Kent's anthem of "Hear my prayer," is a difficult performance for ladies, and so it proved on Saturday - it was pretty correctly sung, and nothing more. The finale was excellent. The celebrated chorus, "Hallelujah," was thoroughly well supported. On the whole we say, never did a musical performance in Van Diemen's Land go off better . . .

Great fears were last week entertained that the Oratorio could not possibly take place, some offence it appears having been given to Mrs. Davis. On enquiring, the reason of all the hub-bub, we found it to be on account of Mrs. Davis's name having been placed after Mrs. Inkersole's, in the bills of the day. The Courier, makes an apology for this inadvertency, and moreover, adds, that it is at the request of Mr. Deane. With Mr. Deane or the Editor, we wish not to interfere, but we should vastly like to know what are Mrs. Davis's pretensions to be first on the list. Mrs. Davis, cannot compare her vocal knowledge, or her vocal powers to Mrs. Inkersole's, and in the opinion of many, Mrs. Henson's performance is far preferable to hers. If therefore, Mrs. Davis cannot claim precedence, on account of her superior talent; she cannot most certainly do so, on account of seniority (without it be in years) for Mrs. Curry, should, thus reckoning, have appeared first, Mrs. Henson second, and Mrs. Davis, third (about her proper station.) We are sick and tired of all these musical and theatrical squabbles, and not meaning any slight or disparagement to Mrs. Davis, we cannot help remarking, that Mrs. Davis's name too frequently occurs, mixed up in these misunderstandings and squabbles. The Courier will perhaps take a different view of Mrs. Davis's importance and rank, in the musical world: we therefore recommend our subscribers to read the Courier's next puff that lady.

ASSOCIATIONS: The others named were Hannah Inkersole, the actor and singer Mrs. Henson, and an unidentified Mrs. Curry (probably recte Currie); the trumpeter, Mr. Long, was perhaps a member of the Band of the 21st Regiment (Fusileers) (master Angus McLeod).

"TO THE EDITOR", The Hobart Town Courier (28 March 1834), 4 

TO THE EDITOR OF THE COURIER. As you have not noticed the Oratorio which took place at Mr. Deane's new rooms on Saturday week, I have taken the liberty of sending you a short account of it. In one word the entertainment was excellent, and the singers exerted themselves to very great advantage and effect. Mrs. Inkersole (late Miss Daniells) is a sweet but not a powerful singer: to excel as a public singer she must undergo a very severe course of study. Mrs. Davis in 'Let the bright Seraphim,' and in the recitative of her Anthem, was correct and powerful - adapting her style to the sentiment of the words, and that too with great feeling. Altogether the Oratorio went off remarkably well, to which the presence of His Excellency very materially contributed. You are not aware perhaps that the services of the singers were gratuitous, - a fact extremely creditable to them, and highly gratifying to Mr. Deane, whose exertions to advance the art and science of music in the colony are deserving of every encouragement. T.

"Domestic Intelligence", The Hobart Town Magazine (March 1834), 53-54

The oratorio, the first which has ever taken place in Van Diemen's Land, passed off on Saturday the 15th instant, exceedingly well. The presence of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor drew together all the fashionables of Hobart Town, who appeared exceedingly gratified by the selection and the execution of the pieces. Mrs. Inkersole made her first appearance in public, and gave universal satisfaction. Her "Lord remember David," and "Lord to thee each night and day," were most beautifully given; and indeed, as the Tasmanian remarks, in her we now have a singer in the Colony - her knowledge of music - her correct style of singing - her accentuation, decidedly place her as a singer very high in rank; - nor in praising her must we forget Mrs. Henson, whose "He was despised," was sweetly pathetic. Mrs. Davis's best performance was "Let the bright Seraphim," with the trumpet obligato performance of Mr. Long. Mr. Peck's violin concerto appeared to give the audience great pleasure, and Mr. Marshall's flute solo was excellent. The finale, the Hallelujah Chorus, was thoroughly well supported, and was certainly the very best musical [54] performance ever witnessed in Van Diemen's Land.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (30 May 1834), 3 

[Advertisement], Trumpeter General (27 June 1834), 2 

Musical Education. MRS. DAVIS, Professor of the Piano-forte, Guitar, Italian and English Singing, &c. &c., begs to inform the inhabitants of Hobart Town and its vicinity, that she now resides in the house formerly occupied by her in Liverpool-street, where she continues to give instruction in the above accomplishments. Mrs. Davis, being aware of erroneous representations having been made respecting her terms, shall feel obliged by ladies (wishing to avail themselves of her instructions) making application at her residence for cards of her terms N.B. - Mrs. Davis asks this opportunity of announcing to the public, that she is in daily expectation of the arrive from London of a large selection of new music, piano-fortes, guitars, and other instruments, which she flatters herself will be such as shall give satisfaction.

"QUARTER SESSIONS. - Hobart Town", Colonial Times (12 August 1834), 8 

George Wain, was charged with stealing 230 sheets of printed music, the property of Mr. Davis, of the value of £12. It appeared from the evidence of Mrs. Davis, that the prisoner had been employed to repair a pianaforte, and took the opportunity to purloin, more than 100 pieces of newly imported music, which he took round the town, and openly sold at the different seminaries, and to many most respectable persons, the music being of the most approved description, representing himself to be a free man, who had received it by late arrivals from England. Verdict - Guilty. Sentenced to have his original term of transportation extended for three years, and recommended to be sent to Port Arthur.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (22 August 1834), 3 

MRS. DAVIS has the pleasure to announce to her friends and the public the arrival of her very superior selection of Piano Fortes, Guitars, &c. with the late improvements, as also a large assortment of all the newest and most popular productions of the most eminent composers, both vocal and instrumental, full particulars of which will be given in a future advertisement when the packages are landed.

"Domestic Intelligence", Colonial Times (26 August 1834), 7 

We attended Mr. Deane's theatre last evening, principally to witness the performance of the two lately-arrived actresses - the Misses Remans and Rudelhoff . . . As a vocalist, [Remans] is perhaps unequalled in the Island; there is a masterly air in every note she brings forth, and she can, doubtlessly, execute with brilliancy, the most difficult pieces. In one song, last evening, she accompanied herself on the guitar, but the accompaniment was scarcely loud enough. Most of our readers recollect "The Dashing White Serjeant," as sung by Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Taylor, and as if it were a masterpiece by which the talent of the respective singers should be decided, it was sung last evening by Miss Remans . . .

Recte Miss Remens was shortly to marry Michael Clarke; see Anne Clarke.

[Advertisement], The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch . . . (26 August 1834), 1 

New Music, Musical Instruments, &c. MRS. DAVIS has the pleasure to announce to her Friends and the Public, that she has now ready for inspection, at her Music Ware-room, No. 22, Liverpool-street, from the first Houses in London, her superior selection of Piano-fortes, of 6 octaves, circular cornered, with patent string-plates, and other late improvements; Grand Square, with ditto; Upright, ditto; Spanish Guitars, with patent machine heads. The above Instruments are of the best description, beautifully finished, and superior, in every particular, to any yet imported to this Colony. Some handsome Piano-forte Wire, Guitar and Harp Strings, and Music Paper. Piano Forte, Flute, and Violin Music of every description, English, French, and Italian Songs, Duetts, and Glees. Portfolios, Instruction Books for the Harp, Guitar; Flute, &c. &c. Mrs. Davis takes this opportunity of announcing to her Friends and the Public, that she continues to give instructions on the Piano-forte, Guitar, Italian and English singing, No. 22, Liverpool-street, as also out-door lessons. August 26, 1834.

"Out-door lessons" refers not to lessons in the open-air, but to those given on other premises than her own.

[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (29 August 1834), 2 

We congratulate our musical friends on the accession of new and popular music and musical instruments just received by Mrs. Davis.

Misses Remans and Rudelhoff, two of the female emigrants by the Strathfieldsaye made their debut on Mr. Deane's boards on Saturday and must prove a great acquisition to the credit of theatricals in Hobart -Town. The audience was much pleased with the performance and the talents of Miss Remans as a singer, are highly respectable.

[Concert playbill] A concert of vocal and instrumental music, at the Court House on Tuesday the 28th instant [July 1834] ([Hobart], James Ross, Printer, [1834]) (originally among the Sophia Davis's papers, given by the Pullman family to the Tasmanian State Library) 

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (28 October 1834), 1 

Concert. MR. GORDONOVITCH respectfully begs leave to announce to the inhabitants of Hobart Town and its vicinity, that he will (with the assistance of his kind friends and the professional talent of the town,) give a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music at the Court House, This Evening, the 28th instant. Colonel Leahy has kindly permitted the attendance of the splendid Band of his regiment. Mrs. Davis will preside at the Piano-forte . . .

See George Gordonovitch

Margaret Barron also sang at the concert, as did the harpist Emeline Kesterton, who, coincidentally, arrived on the ship Curler in August 1833, on which Sophia also had a shipment of imported music.

"MR. GORDONOVITCH'S CONCERT", Trumpeter General (31 October 1834), 2 

The Concert on Tuesday night, was numerously and respectably attended, amongst the company we observed His Honor the Chief Justice and Mrs. Pedder, Colonel Leahy and his Officers, Mr. Kemp and family, with most of the leading fashionables of Hobart Town . . . Mrs. Davis' pupil, the little Miss Barron, did infinite credit to her teacher, and astonished and delighted her hearers . . . The piano forte accompaniment of the different pieces and songs, performed by Mrs. Davis, were in that lady's first style, which is saying enough. But we must particularly notice her accompaniment of Mr. Peck on the violin, and Mr. Reichenberg on the clarionet, which were equal to anything that we ever heard on that instrument . . . Mrs. Davis's inability to undertake any vocal part, on account of a cold under which she has been suffering for several weeks, was a great disappointment, but she certainly got great praise for her successful exertions in bringing forward such a singer as Miss Barron, in so short a time, and at so early an age . . .

We know that Mr. Gordonovitch feels very grateful to all those parties through whose kindness he was enabled to get up this Concert. Ladies do not like to have their names put in the newspapers, but we must take the liberty of noticing the kindness of Mrs. Arthur, who, though not present, we presume on account of a late family bereavement, was so kind as to lend her harp to Mrs. Davis for the occasion. Mrs. Pedder's kind interference in the matter, and its important results, are not unknown to us, but we understand, that like all who act from truly generous motives, she does not like to hear her good deeds trumpeted. Mrs. Davis look all the trouble of the arrangements, and all the performers very handsomely gave their services gratuitously.

News has recently been received in Hobart of the death of general sir John Smith (1764-1834), father of Eliza Arthur, wife of governor George Arthur; see: 

"Hobart Town Police Report", Colonial Times (4 November 1834), 6-7 

Mr. Robertson was charged, on the information of Mr. District Constable Swift, with being drunk and disorderly, at half-past three o'clock on the morning of the 29th instant, and with raising a false alarm of fire . . .

Mr. M'Leod, Band Master of the 21st Regiment, deposed, that he supped with Mr. Robertson at Mr. Davis's on the night in question. Mr. Davis requested himself, Mr. Reichenberg, and Mr. Robertson, to see that the Court-house was safe as they went home. They all left about two o'clock in the morning, and found the Court-house lit up exactly as the company had left it. The Court-keeper appeared to be drunk . . .

Mr. Robertson in his defence said, that after the Concert on Tuesday night last, him- self and two or three other persons went together to sup at Mr. Davis's; several ladies were there, and all that he drank was five glasses of wine. Mr. Davis observed while at supper, that there might be some danger from the lights at the Court-house, and requested himself, Mr. Reichenburg, and Mr. M'Leod, the Band Master of the 21st Regt., to see, on their way home, that all was safe . . .

Mr. M'Leod [said] Mr. Robertson was quite sober. Mr. Peck corroborated the last witness's testimony. Mr. Robertson observed, if the Magistrate was not satisfied, he had several other witnesses who would prove that he was sober. Mr. Mason said he was quite satisfied that Mr. Robertson was perfectly sober . . . Complaint dismissed.

Gilbert Robinson (d.1851); see Angus McLeod, master of the Band of the 21st Regiment, which had played at Gordonovitch's concert.

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (13 November 1834), 2 

MRS. DAVIS BEGS leave to announce to the inhabitants of Launceston and its vicinity, that she intends visiting that place about the first of December, when she purposes (during her stay there,) to give Instruction in the Piano-Forte, Guitar, Italian and English Singing, &c, MRS. DAVIS will have with her FOR SALE a Selection of the NEWEST and most POPULAR MUSIC, (both vocal and instrumental,) Piano-Forte Wire, Guitar Strings, Music Paper, Tuning Hammers and Forks, &c., &c. Hobart Town, Nov. 10, 1834.

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (22 December 1834), 3 

MUSICAL EDUCATION. MRS. DAVIS, RESPPETFULLY announces to the Inhabitants of Launceston and vicinity, that she will give Instructions in the Piano Forte, Guitar, Italian and English Singing, &c. Terms may be known on application to Mrs. Davis, at Mr. Munce's, St. John-street, Launceston. Mrs. Davis has for sale a splendid square Piano Forte of 6 1/2 octaves, circular cornered, with patent string plate, also, a brilliant toned Spanish Guitar, with patent machine head. Music, both vocal and instrumental, for juvenile and finished performers, Piano Forte, coven, Piano Forte wire, Toning keys and forks, Guitar and Violin strings, Music Paper, &c. Launceston, Dec. 3, 1834.

"Launceston News", Launceston Advertiser (1 January 1835), 3 

A Concert is to be given by Mrs. Davis, on Wednesday. From the well-known talents of Mrs. Davis, a great musical treat may be expected.

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (5 January 1885), 2 

CONCERT. - MRS. DAVIS begs to announce to the inhabitants of Launceston and its vicinity, that she will give a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, at the British Hotel, assisted by some gentlemen amateurs, on WEDNESDAY, January 7th; full particulars of which will be duly announced in bills. Tickets, 7s each ; to be had of Mrs. Davis, at Mr. Munce's, St. John-street; Messrs. J. & D. Robertson, Mr. Dowling, and at the Launceston Hotel. Doors to open at half-past seven o'clock, and the concert to commence at a quarter past eight o'clock. Dec. 30, 1834.

"Launceston News", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch . . . (6 January 1835), 3 

A Concert is to be given by Mrs. Davis, on Wednesday. From the well-known talents of Mrs. Davis, a great musical treat may be expected. - [Launceston Advertiser]

[3 advertisements], The Hobart Town Courier (16 January 1834), 3 

NEW MUSIC & STATIONERY WAREHOUSE. MRS. DAVIS begs to announce to her friends and the public, that she has removed to 23, Elizabeth-st. (next the Tasmanian Office and lately occupied by Mrs. Howe), where she will always have for sale an extensive variety of -
The newest and most popular music both vocal and instrumental
Musical instruments
Piano forte wire
Guitar and violin strings
Tuning hammers and forks
Music paper
Piano forte covers, &c.
continues as usual to give instruction in the piano forte, guitar, Italian and English singing, &c. at her own house or that of the residence of her pupils.
23, Elizabeth street, Jan. 16.
FRESH ARRIVAL OF FARM SEEDS, &c. MR. J. W. DAVIS HAS received by the Eveline, from the first house in London, a large quantity of the following Seeds, which he engages to be the, best ever imported to this Colony, and in the finest order:-
Red and white clover
Trifolium incarnatum
Rye grass
Mixed grass
Apply at his Seed Warehouse, No. 23, Elizabeth-street.
MR. J. W. DAVIS, ANNOUNCED to the public, that he has removed to and opened a Store, for the sale of the above seeds, at No. 23, Elizabeth-street (next the Tasmanian Office, and lately occupied by Mrs. How) where he will always keep a choice selection of all kinds of Garden, Flower, and Farm Seed, likewise a large variety of the indigenous seed of this Colony, having collections of upwards of a hundred and twenty different specimens of the most rare plants, which have been collected with the greatest care, and put up in boxes by Mr. Davidson, late Superintendent of Government Garden. No. 23, Elizabeth-street, Jan. 16.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (16 January 1835), 2

Mrs. Davis, who has made a successful visit to Launceston, has returned to town, we are glad to see completely recovered from the effects of the severe cold which for several months previous had affected her voice and prevented her from singing . . .

[LAUNCESTON NEWS] . . . The concert at the British Hotel on Wednesday evening was most respectably attended, and the gentlemen amateurs deserve much praise for their exertions to gratify the company, Mrs. Davis presided at the piano-forte, and was very ably supported by Messrs. Munce, jun. (on the violin), Curzon (German flute), and Beckford (violincello). [Launceston Independent]

See, on the cellist Thomas Leaman Beckford, the flautist Mr. Curzon, and violinist Mr. Munce junior

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (17 February 1835), 8 

Music, Stationery, Toy, and Fancy Warehouse. No. 23, ELIZABETH STREET. MR. DAVIS respectfully announces to his Friends and the Public, that he has received from ACKERMAN'S, THE ANNUALS FOR 183S. Children's copy books, progressive drawing books for children, elementary ditto by Harding and Dobbs, with an endless variety of other useful and entertaining books. Also Bibles, Prayer-books, Testaments, &c. Mr. DAVIS has also received by the Thomas Harrison (in addition to his former extensive stock of stationery), embossed, gilt, tinted, glazed, and plain visiting CARDS; also, for lawyers, briefs, superfine laid copy folio, ditto line folio, ditto superfine line brief folio, of 36, 40, and 42 lines, with numbers of other articles, too numerous to particularize. Feb. 13, 1835.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (17 March 1835), 8 

New Music. MRS. DAVIS begs to announce to the Public, that she has received by the last arrival, a selection of Music, consisting of the newest and most popular Quadrilles, Songs, Piano-forte Pieces, &c.

Mrs. DAVIS begs to inform her Friends and the Public, that she will have in a short time, a splendid selection of Piano-fortes, Guitars, &c, &c, and that she has made arrangements to be regularly supplied every three months with all descriptions of Musical Instruments from the first Manufacturing Houses in London. 23, Elizabeth-st., March 16, 1835.

Itemised invoice, for shipping of a consignment of pianos, from Thomas Tomkison, London, 13 April 1835; Pullman family collection (reproduced courtesy of Sandi Pullman)

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (8 September 1835), 8 

Music Warehouse. MRS. DAVIS respectfully announces to the Public, the arrival, per Lloyds, of her Piano-fortes, Guitars, Music, &c. &c. Also, a splendid Organ, (adapted for either a (Church or private family) a full description of which, shall be given in the next advertisement. They will be ready for inspection the latter end of this week. Sept. 8, 1835.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (25 September 1835), 1 

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (30 October 1835), 3 

PIANO FORTES. &c. Music and Stationery Warehouse, 23, Elizabeth street. MRS. DAVIS has just received Cabinet and Grand Square Piano Fortes, with metallic string plates, &c. Spanish Guitars, with patent machine heads, &c. The above instruments are of the best description and made to order expressly for this climate. Mrs. Davis will engage to send them safe to any part of the interior, from the great care that will be taken in the packing. MUSIC. English and Italian songs, piano forte, violin and flute music, piano forte wire, music paper, guitar and violin strings, tuning hammers and forks, instruction books. Oct. 29.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (10 November 1835), 1 

Pianofortes &c. Music and Stationery Warehouse, 23, Elizabeth street . . . N.B. - Music elegantly copied on the shortest notice. October 30, 1835.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (24 November 1835), 3 

Music and Stationery Warehouse, 23, ELlZABETHSTREET. PIANO FORTES. MRS. DAVIS begs leave to draw the attention of the Pubiic, to the following extensive selection of piano-fortes, just received, per "Brothers," from the celebrated House of TOMKISON, London. Families wishing to procure first rate instruments, have now an opportunity of selecting, from every description of piano-forte, in modern use, and in as elegant order, as when they left the Manufacturer's House. The prices will be found very little higher than the same description of instruments could be purchased for in London:-
Semi Grand Piano-forte's, with a full metalic string plate and braces, combining all the new improvements, and the first instruments of the description ever imported for sale, to this Colony.
Cabinets ditto, of Amboyna wood, and mahogany.
Cottage ditto, of rose-wood and mahogany
Grand Squares ditto, circular cornered with metallic plates
Grand Squares ditto, extra size, circular cornered, with double metallic plate, (the first instrument of the description ever seen in the Colony)
Square ditto, circulared cornered, &c &c.
*,* MRS DAVIS, flatters herself that the Public will feel every confidence in purchasing instruments at her Establishment, from the general satisfaction she has given for the last three years, as an importer of piano fortes to this Colony; and assures the public that she will always continue to be supplied with the best instruments that London can produce. 23d Nov. 1835.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (26 April 1836), 8 

Notice. MRS. CLARKE, at the request of many of her Friends, respectfully announces to the Ladies of Hobart Town and its vicinity, that she gives instructions on the Spanish Guitar, and Italian and English Singing. Terms, six lessons, one guinea. For cards of address, apply to Mrs. Davis, Musical Repository, Elizabeth-street. April 19, 1836

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (14 October 1836), 1

[Advertising], The Hobart Town Courier (25 November 1836), 1 

Piano Fortes & New Music, &c. Music and Stationery Warehouse, 23, Elizabeth-street. MR. J. W. DAVIS has received per the "Atwick" from the House of Tomkinson "London." Cabinet Piano Fortes of the first description with carved trusses, French polished, &c.; Cottage ditto French polished &c.; Square and extra elegant ditto, with metallic spring plate and braces, &c.; Music. An elegant selection of Concertos &c. for the Violin, by the most celebrated composers. Piano Forte Music of every description. Quadrilles, Waltzes Gallopades. English, French and Italian songs. Duets glees, &c. &c. Music paper, violin and guitar strings, &c.

[Advertising], The Hobart Town Courier (25 November 1836), 3 

Piano Fortes per "Atwick." MRS. DAVIS having landed and unpacked her piano fortes, begs to draw the attention of those persons wishing to become possessed of instruments of the first rate manufacture (now to be seen in her show rooms.) They are from the well known celebrated house of Tomkinson, London, and Mrs. Davis feels confidence in saying that they are such instruments as must do her credit, and far superior to any ever yet imported to this colony. 23, Elizabeth-street.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen's Land Gazette (13 December 1839), 1 

Hobart Town Stationery, Seed, Music, and Fancy Warehouse, No. 23, ELIZABETH STREET. MR. J. W. DAVIS respectfully announces to the public, that he has just unpacked a splendid assortment of first-rate PIANOFORTES, selected from the well-known house of "Tomkinson,' [Tomkison] of London, viz.- Cabinet; Cottage, in rosewood and mahogany; Square, and Grand Square, with metallic string plates, circular cornered, &c. Mr. Davis begs to remind the public of the superiority of the Pianofortes formerly imported by him, and the universal satisfaction expressed by every purchaser. November 28.

"TOWN IMPROVEMENTS", Colonial Times (2 April 1844), 3

We must not forget the stationery warehouse, Davis's to wit, where not only stationery and seeds of every description, but toys may be had to gladden the hearts and glisten the eyes of those playful urchins, who are at one and the same time the plague and joy of their fond and often foolish parents; not forgetting the splendid musical instruments and first-rate music to be there obtained, not inferior to the first shop in London. 

"DEATHS", The Courier (10 July 1850), 2

On Monday last, at No. 47, Macquarie-street, after a long and protracted illness, SOPHIA LETITIA, the beloved wife of Mr. J. W. Davis, aged 51 years.


Ettie E. F. Pullman, They came from the Mall: being an account of the lives of James Wentworth and Sophia Letitia Davis (Cheltenham: Privately published, 1982)

Dennis Dugan, [Review of the above], The Age (22 May 1982), 153

JAMES WENTWORTH DAVIS, his wife Sophia Letitia and their six-year-old son, also James Wentworth, migrated from Sligo, Ireland, to Van Diemen's Land in 1832 and, 13 years later, from there to Gippsland's Port Albert district. The younger James Wentworth married in 1854 and his seven sons and four daughters all survived until well into this century. To mark the 150th anniversary of the Australian beginnings of the family, Ettie E. F. Pullman, one of some 200 present-day Davis descendants, has written and published They Came from the Mall, largely an account of the life in Sligo, Hobart and Gippsland of her great-grandparents. From slender primary sources occasional advertisements in early Hobart newspapers and a few family letters she has built up a most readable account of life in Sligo, of J. W. Davis's business as a seed merchant bookseller and stationer in Hobart, and his wife's activities as a teacher of music and concert singer . . .

Susan Lawrence, Alasdair Brooks, and Jane Lennon, "Ceramics and status in regional Australia", Australasian Historical Archaeology 27 (2009), 69 

Sandra Pullman, "James Wentworth Davis: pioneering seed merchant of Hobart Town", Australian Garden History 20/3 (January-March 2009), 9-14

Graeme Skinner, "Sophia Letitia Davis, of Dublin, Sligo, and Hobart", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia), page first posted 11 June 2016 

My thanks:

To Davis descendent Sandra Pullman (daughter of Ettie Pullman) for all her kind assistance, 2014-16.

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018