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Drum - Tenor, A. Lecomte & Cie, Paris, after 1867 Object Reg. No: HT 23699

Rope-tensioned tenor drum made by A. Lecomte & Cie, Paris, after 1867. It was played by Herr Schoot (George Twentyman) at the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition, and throughout Victoria in the 1880s and 1890s. George Twentyman played Grosse Caisse (Base Drum) in the Centennial Orchestra, and was Drum Major with a Military Band that performed at the Melbourne International Centennial Exhibition, 1880-81. This drum is illustrated in an oil painting of Herr Schoot at the Exhibition Building, also in Museum Victoria's collection.

Herr Schoot, the Drum Demon, was well known in the eastern states of Australia for his recreations of battle scenes and other catastrophes. His act comprised over 20 drums and other percussive devices; the most famous of Twentyman's performances was a recreation of a train crash at Warrnambool. Twentyman's act was very similar to that of Pietro Canna. Canna performed the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on up to 30 drums of different sizes at the 1884 Jubilee Exhibition. Whilst on tour in south-east Asia, Canna drowned but his legacy lived on in Twentyman's acts. Twentyman was known to Canna, and it is likely he was developing his percussive extravaganza's before Canna's death; a letter written to Canna in August 1885 noted 'Geo Twentyman has invented a new solo which is to beat you altogether.'

When not performing, Twentyman ran a large music emporium in Geelong, and tuned pianos. He also toured the western districts of Victoria, performing percussive soundtracks to Magic Lantern shows.
Cylindrical drum. Brass body, with upper and lower wooden frame pierced with holes at regular intervals, supporting drum skins. A long piece of rope is threaded from top to bottom through the holes in the wooden frame. Leather straps, painted white on the outside, keep the rope taught. A long piece of string, stretched on the underside of the drum, is attached to a lug at the back of the drum and a tension mount on the front of the drum. Maker's marked engraved on body of drum.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Robert McGlashan, 2009
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 280 mm (Height), 390 mm (Diameter)

More information

Tagged with: music performances, musicians, percussion instruments
Themes this item is part of: The Centennial Orchestra, Music at the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition 1888, Royal Exhibition Building Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: PUBLIC EVENTS
Secondary Classification: Melbourne Centennial Exhibition 1888
Tertiary Classification: musical instruments
Inscriptions: Engraved on body of drum: A.L.&CIE; Lyon/ PARIS/1867/ LIMA; A. LECOMTE & CIE/ PARIS
Manufacturer: A. Lecomte & Cie, Paris, France, post 1867
Person Named: Herr Schoot, Victoria, Australia, 1885-1900
Person Named: Mr George Twentyman, Australia, 1885-1900
Place & Date Used: Royal Exhibition Building (REB), Australia, 1885-1900


Robert McGlashan Posted on 14 Feb 2013 12:58 PM
Thank you for the work on the drum and the painting, there is hand signed and dated info on the inside by Herr Schoot.
Robert McG.

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