London: Printed for & Sold by Geo: Bickham, at his House ye Corner of Bedford-Bury, New-Street, Covent Garden; Printed for C. Corbett at Addison's head, Fleet Street, [ca. 1737-38].
2 volumes. Tall folio. Half late 19th century mid-tan pebbled leather with marbled boards, mid-tan calf title label gilt to upper of each volume, spine in compartments with titling gilt. Letterpress subscribers list, otherwise engraved throughout.
Two volumes, each with 100 finely engraved plates printed on rectos only, with large, attractive vignettes to upper portion of each leaf engraved by Bickham, some after Gravelot and Watteau. The music and text of each song appears below the illustration, with most pieces set for voice and figured bass with a separate part for flute.
1f. (recto title within highly decorative border by Bickham, verso blank), 1f. ("A Table of the Songs in the Musical Entertainer Vol. 1st"),  ("A List of those Encouragers of this Work, who have sent in their Names"), 1f. (smaller-format engraving tipped-in) +100ff. engraved plates. The fine title-page includes allegorical figures holding stringed and wind instruments, putti with music, a gentleman's portrait [?Bickham) propped on an easel, etc.
Named composers include Boyce, Carey, Corelli, Digard, M.C. Festing, Gladwin, Greene, Gunn, Handel, Holcombe, Howard, Hudson, Lampe, Leveridge, Monro, Antony Neale, Popely, Henry Purcell, Putti, Stanley, Vanbrugh, Vincent and C. Young.
Named authors of song texts include Congreve, A. Hill, Thos. Hundeshagen, Jersey, John Mottley, "A Lady," Lockman, Philip, and Smith.
Named singers include Mr. Beard, Senesino, and Isabella Young.
1f. (recto blank, verso fine full-page frontispiece of Calliope), 1f. ("A Table of the Songs in the Musical Entertainer Vol. 2d", verso blank), + 100ff. engraved plates.
Named composers include Arne, Bliondoracellini, Carey, Festing, Wm. Fischer, Gladwin, Gouge, Handel, Howard, King, J.F. Lampe, Leveridge, Pepusch, Philips, Popely, John C. Smith, Vincent, and Wichello.
Named authors of song texts include Carey, Lockman, Abram. Langford, Leveridge, Monro, Thos. Philips, and Prier.
Named singers include Mrs. Clive, Mr. Leguar, Leveridge, Capn. Morrice, and Mrs. Vincent.
Vol. I with early bookplate of Susanna Harland to front pastedown; modern decorative woodcut bookplate of Kate Lee signed with initials "SI" with contemporary signature ("S. Gage") to blank upper margin of flyleaf; old bookseller descriptions and pencilled annotations to front pastedown. Contemporary presentation inscription to head of title to Vol. I; two contemporary manuscript annotations correcting textual attributions.
Bindings worn, rubbed and bumped; joints partially split; edges slightly browned with occasional very small chips. Minor internal wear and browning; occasional small stains; Vol. I with minor repair to blank margin of plate 54; plates 39, 70, 85, and 86 very slightly trimmed with upper and lower margins reinforced, minor repair to lower margin of plate 70; manuscript annotations faded.; Vol. II with minor repair to blank margin of plate 1; lower blank outer corner of plate 92 repaired.
Cohen-De Ricci, 145-46. Lipperheide, 560. BUC, p. 107 (conforming to the first entry except for the fact that the figures in the bass of bars 1-4 of folio 88 in Vol. I in addition to the figures in bars 1-2). RISM BII, p. 245.
"[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 to be one of the finest 18th century illustrated books.
Complete copies of this monumental work, particularly with the subscribers list, are quite rare.
Price: $6,800.00 other currencies