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Early Sheet Music 1782 - 1925

18th/Early 19th Cent Sheet Music

In 2006 my wife spotted some sheet music under a table at a bootsale. Not normally interested I took a look and thought ‘these are old, these are very old’. I knew the paper was hand made of rag and could see the indent of the printing block. I purchased all available 25 for the princely sum of £2.50p.

A Google search led me to The London book trades 1775-1800: a checklist of members on, of all places, the Devon Libraries Local Studies Service . They ranged between 1782-1831. How much are they worth?? No idea - don’t care! I am as stunned today when I look at them as I was the first time I studied them in detail at home - their age, where they have been, what stories they could tell.

I have managed to date to a year or within a range of years each music sheet by references to clues contained within the sheets such as the date they were at a particular premises and partnership with other publishers. Many have 'Entered at Stationers Hall' - an early form of Copyright.

A number of these sheet music printer/publishers were also makers of musical instruments.

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