First Edition of Burney's General History of MusicCharles Burney. A General History of Music, From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period. To Which is Prefixed, a Dissertation on the Music of the Ancients. London: Printed for the author: and sold by T. Becket; J. Robson; and G. Robinson, 1776, 1782, 1789, 1789.
All volumes first editions. Four quarto volumes. xx, [xii], 520; 597; xi, 622; 688 pages. Frontispieces. Indices. Numerous engraved plates, woodcuts, and one fold-out plate. Inked name of original owner, R. Sly, who is listed in the subscriber's list as "Richard Sly, Organist of Lynn." He has, in ink, made corrections throughout the entire set in accordance with the errata pages at the end of each volume.
Bound in contemporary full calf. Gilt lettering to spines. Green morocco title labels with gilt lettering. Raised bands. Marbled endpapers. Older professional restoration to backstrips. Hinges reinforced. Usual rubbing and wear to binding. Foxing and some small dampstains to preliminaries. Only very minor foxing and fading throughout. Very good.
Even though it took thirteen years for this mammoth study to be completed (six years between Volumes I and II alone), Charles Burney's influential history was considered noteworthy from its first appearance. The subscribers list following the preface of Volume I contains over 400 names from the cream of British society, including William Beckford, David Garrick, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, et al. An important early study of music history infrequently found with the first edition of Volume I. Julia Gregory and Hazel Bartlett, in their Catalogue of Early Books on Music, note that Volume I of the set in the Library of Congress is the 1789 second edition.
Gregory and Bartlett, p. 47.
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