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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Drawing of Ann and Jane Taylor found in the Sketch Book of Rev Isaac Taylor 1759-1829

Drawing of Ann and Jane Taylor found in the Sketch Book of Rev Isaac Taylor 1759-1829

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are!

Jane Taylor was born on 23rd September 1783 in Islington, London. She was the second daughter of the Reverend Isaac Taylor and Ann his wife. Isaac was an engraver and writer and also a nonconformist minister, and Ann was a children’s writer. In 1786 the family left London to settle in Lavenham. Jane and her sister Ann were educated at home by their parents. The girls soon began writing and inventing fictitious scenes which they acted out.
In 1796 the family moved to Colchester, Essex where Jane’s father, Isaac was a minister. His engraving business started to struggle so he laid off his apprentices and trained his children as engravers.
In 1806 the Taylor sisters published ‘Rhymes for the Nursery’. This included Jane’s classic ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, which was first published under the title of ‘The Star’ and has 5 verses. The poem was traditionally sung to an old French melody, which was later used by Mozart as a basis for a series of variations. One of the variations is the melody we normally use when we sing the song to children today.
Jane and Ann also wrote ‘Original Poems for Infant Minds’ (1804) and ‘Limed Twigs to Catch Young Birds’ (1808) to mention a few.
The picture above is a drawing by the Revd. Isaac Taylor of his daughters Ann and Jane which was done in preparation for the portrait which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

The records of the Taylor Family of Lavenham and Ongar can be found at Bury Record Office under reference HD588.