Stages of revision of the Wesley/Horn "48" title-page plate

For my article "Pursuit of Perfection: Stages of Revisions reflected in the Wesley/Horn '48'" in The English Bach Awakening: Knowledge of J. S. Bach and his Music in England 1750–1830, ed.  Michael Kassler (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp.341-377, I have studied 33 copies of the edition of Bach's 48 edited jointly by Samuel Wesley and Charles Frederick Horn (first published by Robert Birchall in London, 1810-13, which was reprinted until mid 1840s by Birchall's successors).

The title-page alone tells lots of information about its publication date. In the following section, I explain how Wesley, Horn and the publisher (Birchall & Lonsdale) modified the title-page. If you happen to own a copy of this edition, I am very happy to receive any information. Currently known copies are listed from this link.


The image shown below is Stage P1 title-page, which is the initial engraving of the plate. The last line "NB. Subscribers Names continue to be received for the 2d. Book." is unique to this stage.

Samuel Wesley's control signature is usually found on the bottom right of the page. Usually, no watermark is found on the laid paper (i.e. with visible chain lines) used at this stage.


In Stage P2 (on the occasion of the first issue of Book III in 1811), the last two lines were modified from "London, Printed for the Editors, by Rt. Birchall, No.133, New Bond Street" to "London, Printed for the Editors, by Rt. Birchall, No.133, & Chappell & Co. 124 New Bond Street", and the last line from "NB. Subscribers Names continue to be received for the 2d. Book." to "NB. Subscribers Names continue to be received for the 4th Book."

The laid paper (i.e. with chain lines) used in this period (1811) bears the watermark "1811" and countermark "S"


The Stage P3 is the first issue of Book IV in 1813: in line 7 ‘st’ is now effaced from the plate (so that book numbers greater than 1 could be entered by hand). In Stage P2, ‘st’ was printed, but scratched out by knife.


(BOOK III---Stage P2, showing the sign of scratching out of "ST" by knife)


(Book IV---Stage P3, showing no sign of scratching out of "ST")

The wove paper (i.e. no visible chain lines) used in this period bears the watermark "1812".


Shown below is Stage P4 title-page. The only changes made to the plate at this stage are ‘for the Editors,’ which is now replaced by ‘and sold’, and ‘& Chappell & Co. 124’ removed. The last line--"NB. Subscribers Names continue to be received for the 4th Book."-- is also removed.

Samuel Wesley's control signature (found in Stage P1-P3 copies) is normally absent from this stage onwards. Sometimes, we can find the watermark "1816", "1817" or "1819" on this page.

(Please ignore the owner's writing on the top right and "1722" in the right / bottom half)


Below is Stage P5 title-page, which can be distinguished by the address of Rt. Birchall (in the bottom line), now modified from "No.133" to "No.140".

Often there are copies with hand-written amendment to the price on the title-page (on the 3rd line from the bottom) from "12s~" to "10s/6". Various watermark dates can be identified on the wove paper of this type from "1822" to "1829".


Below is Stage P6 title-page 1st re-engraving for Christopher Lonsdale about 1834. The paper is apparently machine made, bearing no watermarks.

 


Below is Stage P7 title-page, 2nd re-engraving for Christopher Lonsdale, which is likely to have been made after 1843.

As far as we know, this is the last design of the Wesley/Horn edition of Bach's 48.

Yo Tomita

29 April 2004