Case study: The Meeting of the Waters
This gallery is devoted to selected editions of lyrics or illustrations for 'The Meeting of the Waters' from the first number. It is one of the more iconic poems of the entire Irish Melodies series, and appears in nearly all the editions featured in the collection, Moore's Irish Melodies: Texts and Illustrations.
We begin with the featured image (directly above), a copy of the lyrics as produced in the original music series, A Selection of Irish Melodies with Symphonies and Accompaniment. This copy was created in London but jointly published by James and William Power. Typically, the lyrics were presented separately (letterpress format), as well as in the music score (engraved plates). Engraved music was rarely published with a date on it, but this is believed to be an issue dating from the first year of the series, 1808.
Top left is a copy of the lyrics as found in the first British collected edition of the text, by the two publishers (James Power, Longman and co.,) who by that date held exclusive copyright to Moore's music and his written works respectively. Alongside, we have William Power's second collected edition of the lyrics.
Underneath is a unique endeavour by James Power, who published a set of Landscape Illustrations with commentary by the Irish Antiquarian Thomas Crofton Croker -- with whom Moore sometimes corresponded. Its designer Henry Kirchhoffer (1781-1860) was a Dublin-based artist of Swiss descent known for his watercolours; its engraver, Samuel Rawle (1771-1860) was a London-based draughtsman.
Next we have the first translated edition of a selection of the Irish Melodies produced in London-- in Latin. The translator, Nicholas Lee Torre (b.1795), was evidently a freemason and author of one or two volumes of poetry. The impressive list of subscribers attached to Cantus Hibernici suggests that acquiring Moore's Irish Melodies in this format held a certain social cachet. Torre resissued selected and more comprehensive editions of Cantus Hibernici with the Leamington-based publisher Thomas Knibb in 1856, 1858 and 1859 respectively.
Also featured in this gallery is the first edition in Irish, Toga abrań air Eirinn, as effected by John MacHale (1791-1881), His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam. Published by the Dublin-based John Cumming in 1842 and 1852, this was reissued by James Duffy in 1871. MacHale, as one of the first bishops to be educated purely in Ireland, was an important and influential national figure, who wrote widely on ecclesiastical, social, and political topics.
The final items in this gallery are two illustrated editions from the mid 1860s. George Routledge established himself in London by 1836, while William Mackenzie is first noted in 1854. With a generous supply of illustrations, and the addition of a "life of the author" (Routledge) or a "memoir" (Mackenzie), they demonstrate how Moore's works were being presented posthumously to monumentalize his legacy and attract a new generation of readers. One of the Routledge artists, Edward Henry Corbould (1815-1905), was a prominent Victorian water colourist and book illustrator, who also features in the OMEKA exhibition, Lalla Rookh in 19th-century Europe.