Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Danneley, John Feltham

DANNELEY, JOHN FELTHAM (1786–1834?), musician, the second son of G. Danneley, a lay clerk of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, was born at Oakingham, Berkshire, in 1786. His first musical instruction was obtained from his father, and at the age of fifteen he studied thorough bass with Webbe and the pianoforte under Charles Knyvett, and subsequently under Neate. He is also said to have had some lessons from Woelfl, but this was probably later, as Woelfl only settled in England in 1805. About 1803 Danneley abandoned music to live with a rich uncle, from whom he had expectations; but these being disappointed he resumed his musical studies. Until 1812 he lived with his mother at Odiham, where he became interested in foreign music and languages from intercourse with prisoners of war quartered there. In 1812 he settled at Ipswich as a teacher of music; a few years later he was appointed organist of the church of St. Mary of the Tower. In 1816 Danneley visited Paris, where he studied under Reicha, Pradher, and Mirecki, and had intercourse with Monsigny and Cherubini. He returned to Ipswich, where in 1820 he published an ‘Introduction to the Elementary Principles of Thorough Bass and Classical Music,’ a little work which is neither remarkable for erudition nor accuracy. Shortly afterwards he published ‘Palinodia a Nice,’ a set of thirteen vocal duets. He was married in 1822, and about 1824 seems to have settled in London. In 1825 he published his best known work, ‘An Encyclopædia or Dictionary of Music,’ which was followed in 1825 by a ‘Musical Grammar,’ the preface to which is dated from 92 Norton Street, Portland Place. In 1829 he contributed the article on ‘Music’ to the ‘London Encyclopædia.’ Details of the latter years of Danneley's career are very scanty. He published music at 22 Tavistock Place, and in the post-office directories from 1832 to 1834 his name occurs as a music seller and publisher of 13 Regent Street. At the latter address he brought out (in collaboration with F. W. N. Bayley) a work entitled ‘The Nosegay: a Gage d'Amour and Musical Cadeau for 1832.’ His death probably took place in 1834, as his name disappears from the directory in the following year. The date usually given, 1836, has no evidence in its favour, nor does his name appear in the obituaries of the ‘Times,’ ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ or ‘Musical Examiner’ of that year. Besides the works enumerated above, Danneley published some sonatinas for the pianoforte, and several songs; but his music is quite unimportant and forgotten.

[Dict. of Musicians, 1824; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 430; Georgian Era, iv. 531; Danneley's works mentioned above; Post Office Directories; Times newspapers.]

W. B. S.