London: Henry Roberts, 1739-. Two volumes, the first measuring 8.75 x 5.5 inches, the second 9.25 x 5.75 inches: [vi], 200; [vi], 200. Modern dark blue morocco over dark blue cloth boards, spines lettered and numbered in gilt. Frontispiece engraving in Volume I, with copy of that plate inserted after page 128. Both volumes entirely engraved, including title pages and tables of contents; note to subscribers in Volume I; illustration at head of every song. First signature of songs in Volume I misnumbered, but complete. Owner signatures of Thomas Loveday (1875-1966) and his daughter Sarah Markham (1909-2003) to front pastedown of Volume I. Light foxing, a few shallow chips to margins, final page of Volume II browned.
Wonderfully illustrated collection of eighteenth-century popular music, including songs by Henry Purcell, Maurice Greene, John Frederick Lampe, Thomas Arne, and George Frederick Handel, originally issued as a serial in parts. Calliope captures the taste of the English public during the Georgian period: light tunes popularized on the stage and in pleasure gardens like Vauxhall and Marylebone, bawdy ballads, drinking songs, and the occasional patriotic anthem. This is a secular collection: the only gods who figure prominently are Bacchus and Venus. Each song in Calliope is accompanied by an engraved vignette supplied by the publisher Henry Roberts. These scenes typically depict young lovers in vaguely pastoral surroundings, or friends gathered around a table for drinks: “Then lets try to show our Selves Men of Merit, / By toasting those Gods in a Bowl of Good Claret.” An engaging anthology, scarce complete.