BICKHAM, George, the Younger (d. 1758). The Musical Entertainer. London: Charles Corbett, [1737-1739 or later].
2 volumes, 2° (383 x 242mm). All engraved, with title and contents leaf to each volume, and 200 plates, numbered 1-100 in each volume. (Title a little soiled, with slight tear at outer margin and lower corner torn away, contents leaf to the same vol. repaired at outer margin, closed tear at head of plate 28 in vol. II, deep but clean tear in plate 66, lacking the subscribers' list.) Contemporary crimson morocco gilt, covers with wide border enclosing a central lozenge built up from flowers, strawberry plants and other small tools, gilt spine panels (extremities rubbed, joints splitting slightly).
Bickham was principally known for this engraved work, first issued in fortnightly parts, each with four plates, between January 1737 and December 1739. A second edition was also brought out in parts 1740-41, and a third, printed from the original plates, was issued by John Ryall in 1765. The 200 plates are songs by Purcell, Handel, Haydn, Corelli, Pepusch and others, each headed with an engraved vignette, and quite apart from their musical interest they provide fascinating insight into the social life of the time. Eight of the designs are after Gravelot, and in Ray's opinion many others were imitated from Watteau's Oeuvre, leading him to say the song book 'may almost be regarded as French.' Cohen-De Ricci: 'recueil fort rare'; Grove II, p. 694; Ray 12. (2)