Born: Sep­tem­ber 6, 1793, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: Au­gust 18, 1867.


William was the son of Lem­u­el Bar­thol­o­mew, and hus­band of com­pos­er Ann Shep­pard Moun­sey (mar­ried 1853).

He made his liv­ing as a chem­ist, but is best re­mem­bered as a li­bret­tist. Start­ing in 1822, he de­vot­ed much of his time to writ­ing lyrics for for­eign music. In 1841, he sub­mit­ted a lib­ret­to for a fairy opera, Christ­mas Night’s Dream, to Fe­lix Men­dels­sohn. Thus be­gan their long time friend­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

He wrote li­bret­tos for the pre­mieres of ma­ny of Men­dels­sohn’s works in Eng­land, in­clud­ing An­tig­o­ne (1841), Ath­a­lie (1845), Hear My Pray­er (1845), Œd­i­pus Col­o­neus (1845), Praise Je­ho­vah (1846), and the or­a­tor­io Eli­jah for the Birm­ingham Tri­en­nial Mu­sic Fes­tiv­al (1846).

He al­so wrote li­bret­tos for Mi­chael Cos­ta’s Eli and Naa­man, the or­a­torio The Na­ti­vi­ty, and chil­dren’s songs.