Cooke, Henry - Receipt for Services as Master of Children at the King'sClick Image to ZoomEnlarge Image

Cooke, Henry (1615-1672)

Receipt for Services as Master of Children at the King's Private Music.

England, June 24, 1665. Signed WillRumbold. Vellum slip (2.25" h x 7.25" w). In excellent condition, especially for its age. Just a bit dusty with two light creases at right side.
A rare piece of seventeenth-century music ephemera.

A handwritten receipt in Latin on a piece of vellum, confirming pay due to Henry Cooke for services rendered as Master of Children at the King's Private Music in 1665. The receipt is signed by William Rumbold, a financial agent of Charles II's Royal Wardrobe.

Henry Cooke was among the first-appointed members of the King's Private Music after the Restoration in 1660. Although originally brought on as a singer, he quickly rose to become Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. He was responsible for training a small choir of boys, teaching them to play organ, harpsichord, lute, and violin, and supplying their domestic needs: food, lodging, clothing, and laundry.

Within the decade Cooke had cultivated the finest boys' choir in England, handpicking the most promising choristers from around the country and imposing a rigorous rehearsal scheme at the chapel. But he fought constantly with the Lords of the Treasury for funding that had been allocated to him (and the children) from the royal expenditure. Maintaining the boys' liveries, in particular, became a recurring source of contention. Cooke was owed over £1,600 when he died in 1672. This little receipt is a token of the fraught relationship between Cooke and his royal employer.

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