The Jews-Harp in Britain and Ireland

The Jews-Harp in Britain and Ireland

The jews-harp is a distinctive musical instrument of international importance, yet it remains one of those musical instruments, like the ocarina, kazoo or even the art of whistling, that travels beneath the established musical radar. The story of the jews-harp is also part of our musical culture, though it has attracted relatively little academic study. Britain and Ireland played a significant role in the instruments manufacture and world distribution, particularly during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Drawing upon previously unknown written sources and piecing together thousands of fragments of information spanning hundreds of years, Michael Wright tells the story of the jews-harps long history in the Britain and Ireland. Beginning with an introductory chapter describing the instrument, Part One looks at the various theories of its ancient origin, how it came to be in Europe, terminology, and its English name. Part Two explores its commercial exploitation and the importance of the export market in the development of manufacturing. Part Three looks the instruments appearance and use in art, literature and the media, finally considering the many players who have used the instrument throughout its long history.

Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture

Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture

Charles Dibdin (1745-1814) was one of the most popular and influential creative forces in late Georgian Britain, producing a diversity of works that defy simple categorisation. He was an actor, lyricist, composer, singer-songwriter, comedian, theatre-manager, journalist, artist, music tutor, speculator, and author of novels, historical works, polemical pamphlets, and guides to musical education. This collection of essays illuminates the social and cultural conditions that made such a varied career possible, offering fresh insights into previously unexplored aspects of late Georgian culture, society, and politics. Tracing the transitions in the cultural economy from an eighteenth-century system of miscellany to a nineteenth-century regime of specialisation, Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture illustrates the variety of Dibdin's cultural output as characteristic of late eighteenth-century entertainment, while also addressing the challenge mounted by a growing preoccupation with specialisation in the early nineteenth century. The chapters, written by some of the leading experts in their individual disciplines, examine Dibdin's extraordinarily wide-ranging career, spanning cultural spaces from the theatres at Drury Lane and Covent Garden, through Ranelagh Gardens, Sadler's Wells, and the Royal Circus, to singing on board ships and in elegant Regency parlours; from broadside ballads and graphic satires, to newspaper journalism, mezzotint etchings, painting, and decorative pottery. Together they demonstrate connections between forms of cultural production that have often been treated as distinct, and provide a model for a more integrated approach to the fabric of late Georgian cultural production.

The Athenæum

A Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music, and the Drama

The Athenæum


Proceedings and Papers

Proceedings and Papers