Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    First Edition of an Important English Music Title

    Henry Purcell. Orpheus Britannicus. A Collection of all the Choicest Songs, for One, Two, and Three Voices, compos'd by Mr. Henry Purcell. Together, with such Symphonies for Violins or Flutes, as were by him design'd for any of them: and a Through-Bass to each Song. Figur'd for the Organ, Harpsichord, or Theorbo-Lute. All which are placed in their several keys according to the order of the Gamut. [Together With:] The second book, which renders the first compleat. London: J Hepinstall; William Pearson for Henry Playford, 1698-1702. First editions. Two folio volumes. ¹-2+1,A-3R2; ¹2, (a)2, B-Y2. 2, vi, [2, Table placed after dedication], 248; [4],ii, [2 ads], 176 pages. Two portrait frontispieces by Robert White after Johann Closterman (1660-1711), title-pages in red and black. Nineteenth century half calf, spine banded, rubbed, titles gilt on black leather labels - slightly chipped, bookplate of Thomas Bever, LLD with date in hand "Coll: Omn. Anim. Socius 1783" Frontispiece and title-page of first volume trimmed and laid down, first leaves of volume one stained, occasional foxing, occasional notes in nineteenth century [?] hand ("T. O."). A very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit for an extended description of this lot.

    More Information:

    Henry Purcell (1659-1695), organist and composer. "The two books of Orpheus Britannicus, which contained songs and vocal ensembles by Purcell, including movements extracted from longer works, were issued in 1698 and 1702 by Henry Playford... Although Purcell was one of the greatest and most individual of English composers, his music was as much a product of the age in which he lived as of his nationality. He belonged to a vigorous but by no means insular English musical tradition and himself responded both to the French influence favoured by Charles II and to Italian music. His musical knowledge demonstrably extended from English polyphony of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to contemporary Italian vocal and instrumental writing, and his works draw upon a wide variety of stylistic resources. He excelled in the setting of English words, in his last years coming close to establishing a form of music drama distinct from Italian opera and acceptable to English audiences. (Oxford DNB).

    Poems in honor of Purcell by John Dryden, Henry Hall, Nahum Tate, J. Talbot, John Gilbert, Henry Playford, etc.

    Wing P4218. ESTC r231719, t153688. Day and Murries, 166. RISM P 5979, 5983. Hazlitt II, 504. Lewine 434. Macdonald, Dryden, 32b.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 358

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $615,551