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GAY, John.

The Beggar’s Opera.

As it is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincolns-Inn-Fields. To which is Added, the Musick Engrav'd on copper-plates.

Published: London: Printed for John Watts, at the Printing-Office in Wild-Court, near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1728

Stock code: 90323

Price: £1,500

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First edition. Two variants of the first edition have been recorded. In one variant page 53 contains three bars of music, the text ends on page 59 and is followed by advertisements on page 60. In the other variant, which omits the bars of music on page 53, the text ends on page 58 and is followed by advertisements on pages 59 and 60. This copy belongs to the latter group, which research on the variations in press numbers by Walter E. Knotts, Philip Gaskell and W. B. Todd has identified as the earliest variant. Gay’s satire of the royal court was an immediate triumph which ran for a record 62 consecutive performances at the Theatre Royal where it premiered in January 1728.

Octavo (195 x 115 mm). Rebound to style in quarter mottled calf, red morocco label, raised bands ruled in gilt, marbled paper sides, vellum wing tips, edges speckled red. Woodcut historiated capitals and head- and tailpieces, 8 leaves of printed music. Small contemporary annotation p. 33. Boards lightly rubbed, some scattered light spots to text, headlines of printed music just shaved. An attractive copy in excellent condition.

Bibliography: Rothschild 928.

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