London: Geo. Bickham, [ca. 1740].
Tall folio. Contemporary dark brown calf. 1f. (illustrated title) + 100ff., each printed on one side only, with large, elaborate vignettes to upper portions of each illustrating the song, signed in the plate by J. Bickham Jr., with several of the plates after drawings by Gravelot. The music appears below the illustration, set for voice and figured bass with a separate part for flute. Named composers include Handel, Lampe, Gladwin, Green, Turner, Carey, Putti, Monro, Popely, Corelli, Holcombe, Stanley, Howard, Leveridge, Henry Purcell, Hudson, Festing, Vincent and Neale. Singers mentioned include Senesino and Isabella Young.
Lacking list of subscribers, index and 28 plates (numbers 4, 7-8, 10-11, 13, 16, 18-19, 21, 24, 36, 42, 45, 48-49, 66, 71-74, 76, 78-81, 88 and 99; plates 17, 20, 22, 23 and 77 loosely inserted. Very light dampstaining throughout; first and last leaves torn at edges and laid down; some creasing, spotting and soiling; several repairs.
Probable second edition. BUC p. 107. RISM BII p. 245.
First published in parts, in 1738-39 in two volumes of 100 plates each, then reissued in 1740.
"[Bickham] was principally famous in music circles for his two illustrated folio volumes The Musical Entertainer, first issued in fortnightly parts, each containing four plates, from January 1737 to December 1739. The 200 plates are songs, headed and surrounded with pictorial embellishments illustrative of the song..., and engraved in the style of and even copied directly from Gravelot and Watteau. This work was the first of its kind to be published in England and quickly produced imitators such as Lampe’s British Melody, engraved by Benjamin Cole."
"A second edition, corrected by Lampe, was also issued in parts (1740–41), and a third, printed from the original plates, appeared in 1765, issued by John Ryall. Other musical works engraved by Bickham include Songs in the Opera of Flora (1737), An Easy Introduction to Dancing (1738) and the frontispiece for Simpson’s The Delightful Pocket Companion for the German Flute (c1745)." Frank Kidson et al in Grove Music Online.
The Musical Entertainer is considered one of the finest 18th century illustrated books. Complete copies of this monumental work are very rare.
Price: $1,750.00 other currencies