Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ouseley, Frederick Arthur Gore

OUSELEY, Sir FREDERICK ARTHUR GORE (1825–1889), musician and composer, horn in Grosvenor Square, London, on 12 Aug. 1825, was the only surviving son of Sir Gore Ouseley [q. v.], first baronet, of Hall Barn Park, Buckinghamshire, and Harriet Georgina, daughter of John Whitelocke. He was christened at Hertingfordbury in May 1826, when his god-parents were the Duke of York and the Duke of Wellington. Educated privately and at Christ Church, Oxford, he succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father in 1844, graduating B.A. in 1846, and M.A. in 1849; he took holy orders, and was curate of St. Barnabas, Pimlico, and St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, 1849-51. In 1850 he proceeded to the degree of Mus. Bac. at Oxford and in 1854 to that of Mus. Doc, being incorporated in the latter degree at Durham in 1856, at Cambridge in 1862, and at Dublin in 1888. From 1861 to 1856 he resided at Lorchill House, Langley-Marish, Buckinghamshire, and in 1856 was appointed precentor of Hereford Cathedral. He succeeded Sir Henry Rowley Bishop as professor of music in the university of Oxford in the same year, and was made LL.D. of Cambridge in 1883, and of Edinburgh in 1884. He was appointed a canon residentiary of Hereford Cathedral in 1886, and died suddenly of epilepsy on Saturday, 6 April 1889, at Hereford He was buried at St. Michael's, Tenbury. He was unmarried, and the baronetcy became extinct at his death.

From his cradle Ouseley evinced an unusual love of music. When he was only three years old some of his compositions were sent to an accomplished musical amateur, the Duchess of Hamilton, who wrote: 'I am equally astonished and enchanted with the child's talent. I hope and trust I shall one day have the happiness of hearing this second Mozart,' His extraordinary talent for extemporising music was remarked as early as his fifth year, and it is recorded that at that early age 'he sang many beautiful and impassioned melodies, which he accompanied with both hands in the fullest and most varied harmony,' When eight years of age he composed an opera to words by Metastasio which was highly praised by eminent musicians and critics. He was an industrious writer during the whole of his life; for twenty-five years he daily composed at least one canon as a contrapuntal exercise. His music for the church includes many services, about one hundred anthems, a large number of chants, hymn-tunes, and carols, nearly all published by Messrs. Novello and Messrs. Cocks; a sacred cantata, two oratorios, 'The Martyrdom of St. Poly carp' (published in 1855) and 'Hagar' (published in 1873), and numerous organ solos. He also composed secular music, overtures, solos, glees, and quartets, the greater number of which still remain in manuscript. His musical library, of about five thousand volumes, contained unique manuscripts and printed works, and was bequeathed by him to the college of St. Michael, Tenbury, an educational establishment built and partially endowed by himself at very great cost, The church was consecrated and the college opened in September 1856; it was 'intended not only as a means of promoting the church service of the church of England, but also to give at a moderate cost, and in some cases with considerable assistance to those who need it, a liberal and classical education, to the sons of the clergy and other gentlemen, combined with sound church teaching.' An excellent portrait of the founder is hung in the hall of the college; another is in the examination schools at Oxford.

Ouseley was the author of three valuable treatises on musical theory: 1. 'A Treatise on Harmony,' Oxford, 1868, 4to; 2nd ed. 1875. 2. 'A Treatise on Counterpoint, Canon, and Fugue; based upon that of Cherubini,' Oxford, 1869, 4to; 2nd ed. 1880. 3. 'A Treatise on Musical Form and General Composition,' Oxford, 1875, 4to.

[Havergal's Memorials of Sir Frederick A. G. Ouseley; Bumpus's Competitions of the Rev. Sir F. A. G. Ouseley; private autograph mem. of Sir F. A. G. Ouseley.]

W. H. C.