79 leaves in all (including blanks), folio (29.2 x 19cms); Parthenia (third issue): 29 leaves, engraved on one side only, engraved title vignette by "PS" showing a young lady playing the virginals, the pieces numbered I-XXI, bound with:
28 pages in manuscript (written on 15 leaves, plus 35 ruled blanks), comprising 15 pieces (numbered 22-31, with 6 further unnumbered), in at least two contemporary English hands, in various brown inks on up to 4 systems per page, [English provenance, probably c.1640s or 1650s], the manuscript paper machine-ruled with 8 six-line staves, watermark of two pillars surmounted by grapes [cf. Heawood 3490], modern brown morocco gilt by Riviere, gilt edges, bookplate of the American collector John Whipple Frothingham; a few tiny wormholes linking the edition and the manuscript, small damp-staining near the hinge throughout; with an autograph letter concerning the volume by William Barclay Squire to Bernard Alfred Quaritch, dated 5 December 1908
This volume contains an apparently new source for seventeenth-century English keyboard music, with nine unknown and unpublished pieces, together with two others known from other manuscripts but not published. Parthenia was the first published collection of English keyboard music and is of the utmost rarity at auction. About a dozen copies are recorded in libraries from six different issues of Parthenia (1613-1659), the music apparently unaltered throughout. This is the third issue (the first dated issue), of which only one other copy is known.
Parthenia comprises eight pieces by William Byrd (c.1540-1623), seven by John Bull (c.1562-1628) and six by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625). Originally published in late 1612 or early 1613, in honour of the marriage of Princess Elizabeth (daughter of James I) to Frederick Elector Palatine, it was the first edition of keyboard music in Britain and the earliest use of engraving for keyboard music outside Italy. Although a volume of simple keyboard music with a bass viol part Parthenia In-violata, was published in c.1625, no other English collection of solo keyboard music appeared until Musicks Hand-Maide in 1663. The beautiful engraving by William Hole was so accurate that the 1613 plates were used unaltered in the present issue (but with a new title-page). "Everything points to Byrd's collaboration in the venture: the place of honour accorded him, the accuracy of the texts, the high quality of the pieces chosen, their careful grouping, and the fact that apart from the two preludes they were all recent compositions or revisions..." (O.W. Neighbour, p.22)
The 21 numbered pieces are: "[I] Preludium. Mr: William Byrde. I... Pavana. Sr: Wm: Petre II. William Byrde... Galiardo. III. William Byrde... Preludium IIII. Wm Byrde...; Galiardo. Mris Marye Brownlo. V. Will: Byrde... Pavana. The Earle of Salisbury. VI. Will: Byrde... Galiardo VII... Galiardo. Secundo VIII. Mris: Marye Brownlo...Will Byrde... Preludiu IX...Mr: Dr: Bull... Pavana. St: Thomas Wake X. Dr. Bull... Galiardo. St: Thomas Wake XI. Dr: Bull... Pavana XII... Galiardo XIII. Dr: Bull... Galiardo XIIII... Galiardo XV. Dr: Bull... Galiardo XVI. Orlando Gibbons... Fantazia of foure parts XVII...Orl: Gib:... The lord of Salisbury his Pavin XVIII...Orl: Gib:... Galiardo XIX...Orl: Gib:... The Queenes Command XX...Orl: Gib:... Preludium XXI. Orlando Gibbons";
The manuscript is written by two or three early hands, all apparently dating from the mid seventeenth century, possibly slightly earlier than the edition. From the physical, and musical evidence, it is obvious that the two parts have been together from an early date, probably bound together by the original binder in the mid seventeenth century. The manuscript amounts to fifty leaves in all, including blanks, and may have already existed as a separate volume (with pieces written at the beginning and the end), before the edition. The paper bears a watermark consistent with a date in the 1640s and the music contained is typical of the repertoire played at that time, including two earlier pieces by Martin Pearson and Thomas Morley known from the celebrated "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book" (c.1615-1620) and others with concordances dateable to c.1650.
The fifteen pieces are
22) "Spanish paven" in G minor, pages 1-4: Hitherto unrecorded, an anonymous setting of the tune; cf Brookes no.863, who lists 11 manuscript versions from the late C16 until the mid C17, incl GB-Och, 437, f.3 (mid C17). This is a quite different setting from John Bull's version in the "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book" (Brookes 1289).
23) "Lachrime", pages 4-9: Hitherto unrecorded, marked at the end "Mr Cussen", but not any known piece by Benjamin Cosyn. Several anonymous settings of John Dowland's famous tune are recorded by Brookes (cf no.857a).
24) [Martin Pearson, "Almen"], pages 8-9. also found in the "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book" (GB-Cfm Mu. MS 168, c.1615-1620), i, 90. Published in 1894-1899.
25) "Ladie Arbelle", in A minor, page 10. Hitherto unrecorded.
26) "Cormack's Almen", in C major, pages 10-11; Brookes no.350. Manuscript concordance in F-Pn Rés 1186bis, p.11 ("Almayne" in C major; a slight variant), Published in M. Maas, English Pastime Music 1630-1660 (1974), no.79.
27) [Thomas Morley], "Almen" in C major, pages 11-13. in the "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book", ii, 152. Published.
28) "The Birds in May" in F major, pages 13-14. Hitherto unrecorded.
29) "Almen" in F major, pages 14-15. Hitherto unrecorded.
30) "Almen", in G major, pages 16-18; Brookes no.1012 ("Tell me, Susan", anonymous). Manuscript concordance in F-Pn Rés 1186, f.23 (1630s). Published in M. Maas, English Pastime Music, no.7.
31) "Coranto", in A minor, pages 19-21, by Jonas Tresure; Brookes no.2316. Manuscript concordance in US-NYp, Drexel ms. 5611 (c.1650, ms by Thomas Heardson?)
 "Coranto" in D minor, pages 21-23, Hitherto unrecorded.
 "Sarabande A.H.", in G major, page 24. Hitherto unrecorded. (not any known piece by Anthony Holborne), in a different hand; followed by 35 ruled blanks
 untitled piece in D minor, 1/2 page. Hitherto unrecorded.
 untitled piece in D major in 6/4 time (a Jig?), 1/2 page, Hitherto unrecorded
 "Coranto" in D minor, 2 pages. The same piece as no .
 "Coranto" in D minor, 1 page; Brookes no.627 ("A Hedge or a Haycock", anonymous). Manuscript concordance in GB-Och 1236 f.6 (c.1650, hand of William Ellis).
We are most grateful to Professor Davitt Moroney for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
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