Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Littleton, Henry

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LITTLETON, HENRY (1823–1888), music publisher, a direct descendant of the Littletons who settled in Cornwall in the fourteenth century, was the son of James and Elizabeth Littleton, and was born in London on 7 Jan. 1823. In 1841 he entered the music-publishing house of Novello in a subordinate position, in 1846 became manager, in 1861 a partner, and in 1866 sole proprietor. He had great business capacity, and many of the transactions which gained the firm a name for enterprise were due to him. The development of the English taste for choral music during the last forty years may be said to have been created by the cheap publications of the house of Novello, the idea of which, though due to J. Alfred Novello, was entirely carried out by the energy of Littleton. He brought forward many well-known composers, and in some cases bore the cost of their education. It was partly on his invitation that Liszt came to England, after an absence of nearly fifty years, in 1886, when Liszt was his guest at Westwood House, Sydenham (Musical Times, May 1886). When he retired in 1887, Littleton left the largest business of the kind in the world. He died 11 May 1888, and was buried at Lee, Kent. His portrait is published in ‘A Short History of Cheap Music,’ 1887, in which his business career is sketched.

[Short History of Cheap Music, as above; Musical Times, June 1884; private information from Alfred H. Littleton, esq.]

J. C. H.