Odds and quads

These signed drawings of pigs, many of them dated between 1903 and 1910, are held in the archives of the Royal Northern College of Music.

May 10, 2012

They were all produced by well-known musicians such as Joseph Joachim, Emanuel Wirth, Hans Richter and Donald Tovey, who apparently drew them with their eyes shut at the request of a little boy.

The institution was created in 1973 from the merger of the Royal Manchester College of Music, established in 1893, and the Northern School of Music, founded in 1920.

Another notable item in its collection is an autograph book started in 1857 by the father of Carl Fuchs, the Royal Manchester's first professor of violoncello.

It includes the signatures of Beecham, Bruch, Dvorak, Faure, Gounod, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saens and many other leading figures of 19th- and 20th-century music.

More amusing is the letter from Sir Charles Halle, founder of the Royal Manchester, in which he specifically sets out his reasons why the new college should not be called the Royal Northern College of Music.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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