This song comes from a bound volume of sheet music that was located at Throsby Park, Moss Vale, and appears to have belonged to Miss Elizabeth Gittins (1834-1932), governess to the Throsby children from the mid 1880s to the early 1900s. Most of these songs were published in the 1850s and were collected not long after Miss Gittins and her family arrived in Sydney from the north of England in 1852. It is possible that Elizabeth saw the world-famous Madame Anna Bishop perform ‘Oft in the Stilly Night’ at the School of Arts in Sydney, on 21 September 1857, during one of her Australian tours. This copy of the song, with a depiction of Madame Bishop on the cover by local artist and lithographer Edmund Thomas (1827-1867), was published in Sydney soon after the performance and is an early example of concert-related merchandise.
Miss Gittins’ Songbook