London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1760. 8vo (8 x 5 inches). [iv], 208pp. Half-title. Contemporary English speckled calf. Rebacked, some offsetting from binding at edges of preliminaries and terminal leaves, free endpaper slightly chipped at edges, L1-2 with offset stain. Provenance: armorial bookplate from a member of the Clayton family with motto "quod sors ferit fermus." Item #402920
FIRST EDITION of the first full biography of Handel in any language, with a catalogue of his works. It also provides a summary of music at the end of the Baroque era. The English theologian Mainwaring collaborated with John Christopher Smith, Jr. and Robert Price on the text, and the catalogue was prepared by James Harris. The biography occupies the first 143 pages and is followed by the catalogue of his works, divided into Church Music, Theatrical Music, and Chamber Music. This is followed, on pages 159 to the end, by observations on Handel's works (by Price).
"Though he was evidently conversant with music, he devoted most of his attention to the broad outlines of Handel’s life and to a multitude of charming anecdotes about the great man, reserving the detailed discussion of the music for Price’s portion of the book. Mainwaring probably obtained most of his information from John Christopher Smith, Jr. (1712–1795), a composer who—like his father—worked for Handel for many years in a variety of capacities and consequently knew him well. It is not clear if Mainwaring ever had the opportunity to interview Handel directly" ("Histories of Music," exhibit at Yale University Libraries, Winter-Spring 2011). The work was issued with and without an engraved portrait frontispiece; it is not present here. Gregory and Bartlett, i 162; Hirsch, i (Anhang) 38.