Relics and Mementos
Percy Grainger wrote in 1927 that he wanted his future Museum ‘to display therein letters, manuscripts, pictures, native art works, clothes, utensils, works written, painted, drawn, collected, worn or used by said Rose Grainger, Percy Grainger, their kin, friends, sweethearts and fellow artists’. Grainger was already saving nearly every aspect of material culture that was a part of his daily life, building on the mementos and souvenirs that his mother, Rose, had kept from his early years. His wife Ella was conscripted into the practice, including cutting her own hair for future display.
The non-musical part of the collection ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, from toy boats to teapots, walking sticks to wardrobes, diaries to dentures, and home-embroidered handkerchiefs to high fashion. The domestic and personal effects collection alone consists of over 560 objects, while the costume collection, including clothes of Percy, Rose, Ella, and Grainger’s friends Cyril Scott and Balfour Gardiner, numbers nearly 700 items. These parts of the Grainger collection offer a unique, comprehensive and intimate picture of the private and public life of the Graingers over two generations.