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THOMPSON (Publisher)

Volumes 1-4 of Thompson's "Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances"

perform'd at Court, Bath, Tunbridge & all Public Assemblies with proper Figures or Directions to each tune set for the Violin, German-Flute & Hautboy. Pr. 3s 6d.  London"

Vol 1 1751-57  -  Go to ABC file.  ABC by Peter Dunk from a transcription by Fynn Titford-Mock
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

Vol 2 1758-65  -  Go to ABC file.  ABC by Andrew Kuntz & John Adams
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

Vol 3 1766-72  -  Go to ABC file.  ABC by Peter Dunk from a transcription by Fynn Titford-Mock
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

Vol 4 1773-80  -  Go to ABC file.  ABC by Peter Dunk from a transcription by Fynn Titford-Mock
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

There is known to be at least one further volume

Thompson's "Compleat Collection of 120 Favourite Hornpipes" circa 1770

Go to ABC file.  ABC by Simon Wilson
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

Hornpipes of a theatrical persuasion, in every time signature imaginable! Seemingly originally published as four volumes of 30 tunes each, then consolidated into one volume. Tunes named for heroes of The Seven Years War (1756-63) suggest that the short volumes were published around that time and consolidated some time after that

Thompson's "Compleat Tutor for the Fife" circa 1765

"containing the best & easiest instructions to learn that instrument, with a collection of celebrated march's & airs perform'd in the Guards & other regiments &c. London : Printed for and sold by C. & S. Thompson, [c1765]"

Important source of military fife music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries

Facsimile at Internet Archive here (others available)
Go to ABC file. ABC by Roger Hare
    Go to PDF of transcription

Thompson's 24 Country Dances for the Year 1792

Go to ABC file, with dance directions
Transcribed by Chris Partington (1999) and Anne Wride (2017)
    Go to PDF of VMP transcription

One of a series of annual Country Dance books. The first sixteen tunes are from a fragment in the Winder family collection, less title page. We previously referred to this as "Frg_1792". The remaining eight were kindly supplied by Carolyn Shankle, Special Collections Specialist, University Libraries, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, Greensboro, NC

From Kidson:-

Thompson, Peter, and his successors. Peter Thompson was the senior founder of the important and successful business carried on by the Thompson family for half a century. They were the last survivors of the music trade which once thronged St. Paul's Church Yard, and their place of business had very likely been one of the shops held by members of the trade a century or more previously.

Thompsons' shop was at the North West corner of St. Paul's Church Yard ; it was afterwards numbered 75, and I believe was situate near an opening into the West End of Paternoster Row. In its earliest days the sign of the house was the "Violin and Hautboy," or "The Violin, Hautboy, and German Flute," as some imprints give. The sign, however, was seldom used after the death of Peter Thompson, and the address at first being merely "West end of St. Paul's Church Yard"; was afterwards invariably given as "75, St. Paul's Church Yard."

Peter Thompson was certainly publishing in 1751, though there is rather a puzzling entry in the directory of 1754 — " Peter Thompson, chocolate maker, St. Paul's Church Yard." This might suggest that he combined the two trades, or it is not unlikely that it is a mistake of compiler or printer.

Absolutely the earliest book with Peter Thompson's imprint which I have yet seen to definitely fix a date is his yearly set of Twenty-four Country Dances for 1755; in the British Museum. As this begins at dance No. 97, page 49, and ends with dance No. 120, page 60, it is pretty evident that the yearly dances commenced with those for 1751. About this time Peter Thompson published octavo instruction books for the violin and other instruments, and continued the yearly dances to 1757-8 when the seven yearly sets were gathered (with some others added) into a volume containing two hundred dances. This book, numbered volume 1st, has Peter Thompson's imprint. The yearly dances for 1759 and 1760 have the imprint, Thompson & Son, while those for 1762 have an " s " added to Son. In 1764, though another plate is engraved for the title page, yet the imprint is still Thompson & Sons. The dances for 1764 have now a fresh imprint "Charles & Samuel Thompson," and this continues for some years ; it may now be assumed that Peter is dead. An imprint, however, on an early work in my own library leads me to suppose that Peter Thompson must have died about 1758, and that his business was then carried on by his eldest son, Charles, and his widow, Ann, so that the imprints Thompson & Son and Thompson & Sons refer to the widow and her sons. I think too that she must have died or retired before 1764. The work with the imprint I refer to is " Thirty Favourite Marches, which are now in vogue... London, printed for Chs. & Ann Thompson, at the Violin and Hautboy, in St. Paul's Church Yard," 8vo. The contents and style of this book certainly fix it about 1758-59. The Ann Thompson is also most assuredly not the person of the same name who afterwards entered the firm.

Charles and Samuel Thompson, the two brothers, when they got the business into their own hands made very rapid strides, and while previously the publications had been mostly confined to small dance collections, tutors, etc., much more important works are found bearing their names. They acquired some plates or copyrights of John Simpson's and republished Lampugnani's Sonatas; Burk Thumoth's Irish and Scotch, and Irish and English collections were also reprinted by the Thompson family.

Between 1776 and 1778 Charles Thompson dies or retires from the firm and Samuel alone holds the business, but this is only for a very short interval — Hook's songs for 1778, as well as the directory for 1779, gives the firm as Samuel & Ann ; this latter, it may be easily imagined, is the widow of Charles — she is certainly not the Ann Thompson of the imprint circa 1758-9.

In 1780, Peter, who may be a son of Charles or of Samuel, and a grandson of the original founder, is added to the firm, which now stands as Samuel, Ann & Peter, and the business prospers still more. In 1792 it is Samuel, Ann, Peter, and Henry, and in 1795 Peter drops out, leaving Henry in his place. In 1796, Samuel has disappeared and the house is styled Henry & Ann Thompson. This continues till 1799, when Henry alone remains until the year 1802. Shortly after this date Purday & Button have sole possession and are publishing from the Thompson address in 1805-6.

The directory and the yearly sets of Country Dances give the changes of the Thompson family very fully, and for the reader's convenience I will repeat these in tabular form compiled from the above authorities and from other sources equally reliable. I do this the more readily as so much misapprehension exists regarding the family's business history. One work on the violin gives "C. & S. Thomson (sic). 1720-48," and "Thomson & Son, S. & P., 1764." I also remember to have seen a violin label of Samuel, Ann, and Peter Thomson with a M.S. date altered into 1748 ! — it could by no possibility be before 1779. I am afraid that foolish and unscrupulous dealers and owners who have thus tampered with fiddle labels have done much to muddle the history of violin making. It is fortunate that directories and music books, which contain more reliable data, still remain.

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