Surviving copies of the Wesley/Horn "48"

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On this page, I intend to list all the surviving copies of Well-Tempered Clavier published by Samuel Wesley and Charles Frederick Horn in 1810f.

The following copies are studied in 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. The tag [letters + number] are the source reference used in the article, classifying the edition into the following seven types:

A. First issue. Book I contained the title-page (Stage P1) and a printed list of 144 subscribers (A-H, I-Y). All copies seen of this issue that have at least one title-page bear Wesley’s ‘control’ signature ‘SWesley’ on the title-page of each book included in the copy.

B. A second impression of Book I (and possibly also of Books II and III), made from engraved plates that were changed to incorporate a small number of corrections to the music. Stage B copies used the same title-page as in stage A but included an updated subscribers’ list of 152 printed names (A-H, I-Y). All copies examined of this stage also bear Wesley’s control signature on the title-page. Three states can be distinguished within this stage, reflecting separately made corrections to the musical plates.

C. A reissue in which the title-page was altered from ‘Printed for the Editors by Rt. Birchall’—or, in the case of Books III and IV, from ‘Printed for the Editors by Rt. Birchall, and Chappell & Co.’—to ‘Printed and sold by Rt. Birchall’ (= Stage P4). Wesley's control signature no longer appears on copies from this stage onwards. The list of subscribers also ceased to be included from this stage onwards, and no alterations to the musical text were made after this reissue.

D. Another reissue with an altered title-page (from ‘No. 133, New Bond Street’ to ‘No. 140 New Bond Street’; = Stage P5), reflecting the Birchall firm’s change of address.

E. This stage is distinguished only by a manuscript amendment to the title-page that reduced the price of each book from 12/– to 10/6

F. A later reissue by Birchall’s successor, Christopher Lonsdale, with the newly engraved title-page (Stage P6).

G. A further reissue by Lonsdale, with yet another newly engraved title-page (Stage P7) having the significantly changed wording

A complete List






NB. The source identification (see the article itself for classification) is in square brackets.

Copies unavailable for consultation

Any further information regarding the above copies is gratefully received.

The following copies have been consulted after the publication of the above article:

I welcome any information regarding further copies.

Yo Tomita

Last updated: 07 February 2008