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COX'S MUSEUM. English, Country Dance Tune (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABA. The melody also appears in Longman, Lukey and Broderip's Bride's Favourite Collection of 200 Select Country Dances, Cotillons (1776) and Thomas Skillern's Skillern's Compleat Collection of Two Hundred & Four Reels (1780).
James Cox (ca. 1723–1800) was an artificer-merchant, manufacturer and entrepreneur who briefly had a museum in London in the early 1770's, in which he exhibited all kinds of precious jewelry, automatons and oddities such as Charles Byrne, the Irish Giant. A tribute of sorts was paid to his museum in the second act of Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775), when Sir Anthony Absolute thundered to his son, on learning of his reluctance to marry Lydia Languish:
Zounds! sirrah! the lady shall be as ugly as I choose: she shall have a hump on each shoulder; she shall be as crooked as the crescent; her one eye shall roll like the bull's in Cox's Museum; she shall have a skin like a mummy, and the beard of a Jew--she shall be all this, sirrah!
Cox sold off the contents of his museum a few years after it opened, by lottery, and attempted to liquidate his business. He appears not to have been wholly successful, however, for his business enterprises were much curtailed, although he and his sons continued as retailers, but not manufacturers.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Straight and Skillern (Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), c. 1775; No. 48, p. 24.