London and the Irish Melodies
London dominated the publication of Thomas Moore's works, due to the copyright over his music held by James Power and the copyright over his written work held by Longman and associates. In 1821, Power collaborated with Longman in issuing a 'text only' version of the Irish Melodies, which was issued nearly every year until 1849. Editions of Moore's work issued by William Dugdale, and also 'the booksellers of London' in the mid 1820s, are surely pirated.
In 1832, J. Power and Longman issued their 10th edition of the Irish Melodies ... with an appendix. The exemplar in Special Collections & Archives, Queen's University Belfast includes an interior title-page, "Illustrations of Moore's Melodies from drawings by T. Stothard, R.A., London, published by Robt. Jennings, 1824." There are no known independent copies of this imprint. Involving the prominent and talented Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) in the Irish Melodies project was a stroke of genius, as his talents and Moore's worked so harmoniously together--both were adept at evoking the late 18th-century aesthetic of sentimentalism.
The 1830s saw two new developments. James Power issued an illustrated edition, Landscape Illustrations of the Irish Melodies, edited with commentary by the Irish antiquarian Thomas Crofton Croker (1798-1854). The little known publisher Richard Glynn, active between 1826 and 1837, included Nicholas Lee Torre's translation of some of Moore's Irish Melodies as Cantus Hibernici, an act in keeping with his specialization in Classical topics.
Longmans took three initiatives in the 1840s. First was their production of The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore in ten volumes between 1840 and 1841-- with the Irish Melodies appearing across volumes 3 and 4. In 1846, they launched a fully illustrated edition drawn by Cork-born Daniel Maclise (1806-1870). This was reissued periodically until 1876. It is this very iconic edition, readily available in modern facsimile, through which most modern readers will have encountered Moore's poetry. In 1849, Longmans changed the layout of its 'regular' edition, enhanced by a frontispiece also drawn by Maclise.
Although both the 1846 and 1849 editions enjoyed repeated reissues for at least 30 years, Longmans developed two further editions, which may have appeared but once each. In 1856 they issued an illustrated edition featuring the work of "several eminent artists", although only the plates drawn by Thomas Stothard and Richard Westall (1765-1836) attribute their artist and engraver. In 1859 Longmans launched a 'People's edition' of The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, cheaply produced (each volume costing a shilling) with several poems to a page.
By the 1860s, firms new to publishing Moore produced illustrated editions of the Irish Melodies. Moore, by then deceased, was being monumentalized through elaborate anthologies of his work with the added inducements of a "Life" of the author (Routledge, 1866) or a "Memoir" (Mackenzie, 1867). This trend culminated in the 1879/80 edition by London Printing and Publishing of the music to Moore's Irish Melodies with its commemorative dedication page.
This gallery illustrates the different editions in circulation, and represents all known London publishers with the exception of William Dugdale.
Further examples of each publisher's work may be found in the collection 'Moore's Irish Melodies: Texts and Illustrations'.