Australian Album 1857. J. R. CLARKE, Edmund THOMAS.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.
Australian Album 1857.

Australian Album 1857.

Sydney: J.R. Clarke, 1857.

Large quarto, with a total of ten lithographic plates, including the illustrated title-page and frontispiece; comprising eight musical scores with introductory letterpress (preface and contents leaves); a very good copy in original red cloth decorated in gilt and lettered "Australian Album" to the front board.

The first music album published in New South Wales

First edition: the first music album published in New South Wales, which includes eight Australian musical scores for a popular audience. Individual songs and sheet music scores had been printed previously, but this is the first complete published musical album. (Although Isaac Nathan's 1849 publication The Southern Euphrosyne does indeed feature musical content, it is interspersed with anecdote, reminiscences and other detail, and cannot be regarded as a musical album as such). The Australian Album includes a title-page and frontispiece (in addition to illustrated title-pages for each song), a welcoming preface and table of contents. Clarke had the album published in a decorative binding of red cloth, quite ornately titled in gilt, showing that the volume was intended to be a valued possession.

First edition: the first music album published in New South Wales, which includes eight Australian musical scores for a popular audience. Individual songs and sheet music scores had been printed previously, but this is the first complete published musical album. (Although Isaac Nathan's 1849 publication The Southern Euphrosyne does indeed feature musical content, it is interspersed with anecdote, reminiscences and other detail, and cannot be regarded as a musical album as such). The Australian Album includes a title-page and frontispiece (in addition to illustrated title-pages for each song), a welcoming preface and table of contents. Clarke had the album published in a decorative binding of red cloth, quite ornately titled in gilt, showing that the volume was intended to be a valued possession.
The preface, by budding author Frank Fowler, proudly boasts that the compositions are all Australian, indeed 'are all new - all colonial. Here - in this city - they were played, printed and published… We can send the work home as a specimen of what we can do out here at Botany Bay - as an index of our education, refinement, art-feeling'. The reference to the thriving port of Sydney as 'Botany Bay' is an ironic reference to the convict past, and reflects a strong emerging national identity. This nationalistic era immediately followed the end of convict transportation to the east coast of Australia as an emerging middle class of free settlers strove to define a new identity for the colony. Clarke capitalised on the fame of visiting celebrity performers and the album includes two portraits, of Irish singer Catherine Hayes who toured Australia in 1855-1856, and of Austrian violinist Miska Hauser.
The Australian Album is valued for the splendid title-pages accompanying each of the songs. They are the work of Edmund Thomas (1827-1867) who had earlier illustrated a well-received album of Melbourne views. A testament to the skill of lithographic printing in Sydney by the mid-nineteenth century, the ten plates include scenic views of the Botanic Gardens, Sydney Heads, Rose Bay, the North Shore and Rose Bay. These images capture Sydney leisure activities, with prosperous citizens enjoying the natural beauty of the harbour and environs.
The Australian Album is scarce; it was conspicuously absent from the catalogue of the exhibition 'Music Printing and Publishing in Australia' held at Monash University in November 2000.

Ferguson, 6318.

Price (AUD): $6,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4308572

Condition Report