Barthélémon, François Hippolyte
b Bordeaux, France 1741, d Southwark, S London (Surrey) 1808. Eldest of the 16 children born to a French government official (and wig-maker) and an Irish lady, and a talented violinist from his youth, he apparently resigned his military commission with the Irish Brigade in order to pursue a musical career, encouraged by the Earl of Kerry. After employment in the orchestra of a Paris theatre, the Comédie Italienne, he came to London in 1764 where he became leader of several English orchestras including that at Vauxhall Gardens (1770–76) and at the ‘Salomon Concerts’. He also toured on the continent, and from 1771–73 made his home in Dublin. He mixed easily with members of the British royal family and became a close friend of F J Haydn and a member of the Swedenborgian Ch. His church compositions, including several organ voluntaries, were far outnumbered by his works for the theatre and opera, 6 violin concertos, glees, catches, and one oratorio, etc. His later years were dogged by illness and other troubles, and he became paralysed some time before his death near the end of his 67th year. One hymn tune has firmly established him in most English-language (and other) hymn-books. Thomas Hardy commemorated him in a poem published in The Times on the 113th anniversary of his death (1921). No.215.