LAST MODIFIED Monday 22 May 2017 7:58

Joseph Gautrot and Madame Gautrot

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)

To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Joseph Gautrot and Madame Gautrot", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 25 June 2017


Violinist, composer, professor of music

Arrived Sydney, 1 March 1839 (per Sarah and Elizabeth, from Batavia, 4 January)
Died Sydney, 30 January 1854, aged 71


Soprano vocalist

Active Sydney, until May 1855


Summary (pre-Australia):

According to his obituary, Gautrot was with Napoleon's Imperial Guard when it entered Moscow in 1812. If he was indeed a member of Napoleon's band or orchestra, he would have played under Frédéric Blasius (1758-1829). A Gautrot was awarded a Legion d'honneur on 17 March 1815.

In 1813, a Gautrot played second violin in the premiere of Cherubini's Chant sur la mort d'Haydn. He may have been composer of Franconi junior's, Caïn, ou Le Premier crime, pantomime en trois actes, imitée du poëme de Gesner (Paris: Fages, 1817), premiered at the Cirque Olympique, Paris, 26 June 1817 with music by "M. Gautrot"; also the "M. Gautrot" listed in the Paris Almanach des 25,000 adreses (1816), 280, as "chef d'orch."; chef d'orchstre at the Grand Théâtre de Gand in 1830, Almanach des Spectacles 9 (Paris: Barba, 1830), 338:

and likewise at the Théâtre de Genève in Almanach de Spectacles (1831), 251.

On the Gautrots in Batavia, see Victor Ido [pseud.], Indie in den Gouden Ouden Tijd: radio-voordrachten voor de Nirom gehouden door Victor Ido (Bandoeng: N.V. v/h Nic & Co., 1949); Franki R. Notosudirdjo, Music, Politics, and the Problems of National Identity in Indonesia, 56, names Minard as head of an opera troupe that first came to Batavia in 1835 or 1836; see also F. de Haan, Oud Batavia: gedenkboek uitgegeven ter gelegenheid van het dire honderdjarig bestaan de staad in 1919 (Batavia: G. Kolff, 1919 & 1922-23), 442.

Summary (Australia):

The Gautrots were members of Minard's small operatic company that arrived in Sydney for what turned out to be their last performances together in March 1839. When Minard and his wife left in April, he advertised the music of 25 operas for sale. Alone of the company, the Gautrots opted to remain. (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

He signed a letter to the press in Sydney in 1839 "J. Gautrot, Pere" and W. A. Duncan also refers to him as "Pere" in the Australasian Chronicle. Neither her forename nor an initial appears anywhere in print.

Charles Rodius exhibited a portrait of Gautrot in Sydney in 1849 (since unidentified).

A concert in Hobart on 1 July 1845 was advertised as being for his 70th birthday, though this conflicts seriously with his stated age of 71 at his death in January 1854.

The Gautrots lived for periods in Hobart and Melbourne, but were mostly based in Sydney. They planned to leave Australia several times, but were prevented by misfortunes and penury. Of the two, Madame Gautrot was probably better known to Sydney audiences for her many vocal appearances. She continued to perform after her husband's death, but disappears from colonial record after mid-1855.

Of around 30 documented compositions and arrangements by him, only one was publihshed and survives, The Josephian Hymn (words: J. J. Therry; "Respectfully inscribed to The Most Reverend Count Polding, Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of Australasia, Festival of St. Joseph, 1844") (Hobart: T. Bluett, 1844).

His lost colonial musical works included

Australia, A Pastoral (composed for the Ladies of the Colony for violin solo) (Sydney in November 1839)

Quintett (for two Tenors, two Violoncellos, and one Double Bass) (Sydney, June 1840)

Overture a la Melbourne (for band and orchestra) (Melbourne, April 1841)

Russian Air with variations: a Sestett (for Piano-forte, two Violins, two flutes, Violoncello, and Double Bass) (Sydney, August 1842)

Septett (for Pianoforte, two Violins, two Flutes, Violoncello, and Double Bass) ("composed, we believe, for the occasion") (Sydney, August 1842)

Overture ("composed expressly for this Theatre ... with variations for all the instruments") (Hobart, December 1843)

Grand Septuor (for Three Violins, Viola, Violoncello, Flute, and Contra Basse) (Hobart, December 1845)

A New Grand Overture ("by a Double Orchestra, composed expressly for this occasion") (Sydney, May 1850)


"ARRIVALS", The Colonist (2 March 1839), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (14 March 1839), 3

"THE THEATRE", The Sydney Monitor (18 March 1839), 3

"To the Editor", The Australian (20 August 1839), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (9 November 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (13 November 1839), 1

"M.GAUTROT's CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (15 November 1839), 1s

"Royal Victoria Theatre: Grand Concert", The Sydney Herald (6 July 1840), 6

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (16 August 1842), 3

"M. GAUTROT'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (18 August 1842), 2

"M. GAUTROT'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (18 August 1842), 2

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (19 December 1843), 2

"GAUTROT'S CONCERT", The Courier (26 June 1845), 2

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (16 December 1845), 2

"SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE FINE ARTS IN AUSTRALIA", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 June 1849), 3 

No. 171.- Portrait of Monsieur Gautrot. Rodius. - Property of Mr. Rodius. - A free, light, loose sketch, full of artistical talent, and a very striking likeness.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 1850), 2

"DEATHS", Empire (2 February 1854), 4

At his residence, Castlereagh-street, on the 30th January, Joseph Gautrot, Artiste Musicien, aged 71 years.

"DEATH OF A VETERAN MUSICIAN", The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (8 February 1854), 4

In our weekly obituary will be found the name of Monsieur Joseph Gautrot, at the advanced age of 71 years. The deceased was one of the Emperor Napoleon's Imperial Guard, and was present at the fatal Moscow conquest and conflagration. Subsequently he became director of the principal theatre in Batavia, which post he filled for a period of about eight years. Mons. Gautrot had, during the last fourteen years, been engaged in the orchestra of the Royal Victoria Theatre, and his name is not unknown to the world, his proficiency on the violin having been frequently displayed and acknowledged by the public. The lamented gentleman leaves a wife to deplore his loss. Bell's Life, Feb. 4.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (25 September 1854), 8

"MR. EDWARD BOULANGER'S CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 May 1855), 5

St. Joseph's Church, Macquarie Street, Hobart (with old St. David's behind); engraving published by Thomas Bluett, Hobart, 1844


Having arrived via the Cape Colony (South Africa) and Batavia (Indonesia) in 1839, the French-born violinist, soldier (formerly a member of Napoleon's Imperial Guard) and composer Joseph Gautrot (c.1775-1854) spent the last 15 years of his long life in Australia, continuing to the last to ply his trade as a professional musician. Over these years, newspaper advertisements for his concerts list over 20 of his compositions, arrangements and orchestrations. His original works include several orchestral overtures, vocal arias and variations for his wife (a soprano), a chamber sestett and two septets, and many violin variation sets and other solos, including one in 1839 entitled Australia, A Pastoral "composed for the Ladies of the Colony".

All but one of these Australian works is lost, his Josephian Hymn. A setting of words in honour of St Joseph by parish priest of St Joseph's, Hobart Town, J. J. Therry, it was composed, premiered, and published in 1844. At least one copy of the print does, or did once exist, for photocopies of it (and more photocopies of those) survive. Unfortunately, while at least 4 photocopies are listed in Trove (via Libraries Australia), the whereabouts of the original is nowhere to be found in the national bibliographic record.

Can anyone throw some light on the whereabouts of one or more copies of the original 1844 edition, published by Thomas Bluett?

In the meantime, with the kind permission of the Archivist of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan OSB in Glebe (who has the care of two photocopies), I attach a virtual copy.

John Joseph Terry, c. 1860 (engraving, by H. L. Ladd, made in the USA, from locally supplied original)


See also: (TROVE public tag)

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (19 March 1844), 1

ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH, MACQUARIE-STREET. THE FESTIVAL or ST. JOSEPH, will be celebrated THIS DAY, the 19th instant, in this church, by a solemn Mass, Vespers and Benediction. The Morning Service to commence at eleven; Evening Service at seven o'clock. A new Hymn will be sung (for the first time), at the latter, by Madame Gautrot, which, with its musical arrangement by Monsieur Gautrot, is, in the course of a few days, to be lithographed, and afterwards sold for their benefit. March 19, 1844.

[Advertisement], The Courier (5 April 1844), 3

"SACRED MUSIC", The Courier (5 April 1844), 2

SACRED MUSIC. - We have been favoured with a copy of a new piece of sacred music which has just been published, entitled "The Josephian Hymn." The words are by the Rev. T. Therry, the music being arranged by Monsieur Gautrot, for whose benefit we are informed the proceeds of the sale will be devoted.

"THE JOSEPHIAN HYMN", Colonial Times (9 April 1844), 3 

THE JOSEPHIAN HYMN. - We have received a new hymn composed by the Rev. the Vicar-General Therry, and the music arranged by Mons. Gautrot, for whose benefit it is intended, which has just been published and is on sale by Mr. Tegg, the Stationer, and Mr. Bluet, the Lithographer. The sublimity of the sentiments and the harmony of the music, are delightfully combined.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (7 May 1844), 2 

GRAND ORATORIO AT St. Joseph's Church.

ON TUESDAY, MAY 14, there will be given a GRAND ORATORIO, in St. Joseph's Church, at Eight o'clock in the Evening, for the Benefit of the CHORAL DEPARTMENT. The Performances will consist of a choice selection of Vocal and Instrumental Music, by the chief Musical Talent of Hobart Town; and by the kind permission of Colonel Elliott, the celebrated Band of the 51st Regiment will not only assist in the general Entertainment, but will also perform several well selected pieces of music.

Overture - Handel.
Josephian Hymn - Part 1, words by the Very Rev. J. J. Therry, music by Mons. Gautrot - Miss Deane.
Chorus - "But as for His people" - Handel.
Duet - "The Lord is a Man of War" - Handel . . . Madame Gautrot and an Amateur.
Solo - "The Orphan Girl" - J. Howson.
Chorus - "May no rash intruder" - Solomon.
Solo - "Tantum Ergo" - Violin Obligato - Mons. Gautrot and Madame Gautrot.
Solo - "Tears such as tender Fathers shod", Theodora [Handel] - Amateur.
Chorus - "Swell the full Chorus" - Solomon [Handel].
Hymn - Words by Madame Gautrot - Madame Gautrot.
Solo - "What tho' I trace" - Amateur.
Quintette - Composed by Monsieur Gautrot - two Tenors, two Violoncellos, one Bass.

Overture - Haydn.
Josephian Hymn - Part 2, words by the Very Rev. J. J. Therry, music by Monsieur Gautrot . . . Madame Gautrot.
Recitative - "And Israel saw the great work", Judah [Handel] - Amateur.
Chorus - "Arise O Judah" - Judah.
Solo - "Cujus Animam"-from Stabat Mater Rossini-J. Howson.
Chorus - "Now Elevate"-Judah.
Solo - "Sanctum et Terribile" - Pergolesi - Mad. Gautrot.
Chorus - "Kyrie Eleison" - Rossini.
Solo - "With Verdure clad" - Creation [Haydn] . . . Miss Deane.
Chorus - "The Heavens are Telling" - Creation.
Grand Chorus - "God save the Queen," and "Hallelujah" - Handel.

May 3, 1844.

[Advertisement], The Courier (10 May 1844), 1 

[All as above, except that the first part of the hymn was to be sung by Madame Carandini, and Miss Deane's solo With verdure clad omitted.]

Edition of the words:


John Joseph Therry, Hymns, for children, &c, &c. (Melbourne: W. Clarke, 1846), 6-7 (DIGITISED)

A virtual performance

Josephian Hymn (arranged by Mons. Gautrot), part 1 (realised in Finale with Garritan sounds)

Download .wav file here

The original print




Modern edition, edited by Richard Divall; 27 September 2014; Australian Music Series, MDA027 (Clayton: Monash University) 





© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2017