Daniel Wright

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Frank Kidson - British Music Publishers, Printers and Engravers (1900, pp. 156-158):

Wright, Daniel, senior & junior. Though generally considered as but one, there were two music sellers of this Christian and surname, father and son, and their publications contain much curious matter. So far as I may surmise Daniel Wright was established at the beginning of the eighteenth century, though the earliest date I can definitely find for him is 1709. His shop was next door to a celebrated tavern--the "Sun"--the one in Holborn, for there were two hostelries of that name, both famous. Wright's shop was at the corner of Brook Street, between Gray's Inn Lane and Furnival's Inn on the northern side of Holborn. He styled himself maker of musical instruments, and no doubt he did a large music selling trade. Like the rest of the music trade he had engraved slips, which he pasted over the imprints of music sold by him but not of his own pubication. One of these over a dance book issued by John Walsh is: Sold by Daniel Wright, musical instrument maker, next door to the Sun Tavern, near Brooke Street, in Holborne, 1709." Wright and the elder Walsh appear to have been, in a great measure, rivals, as Walsh, in his early day, copied more or less closely the titles of Henry Playford, so Wright did the same by Walsh. Wright for instance issued "The Monthly Mask of Vocal Music," which is precisely the same title as Walsh used for a similar work, and Wright for this same work has engraved a rough copy of one of Walsh's pictorial title pages. Wright also published a "Merry Musician," and a "British Musical Miscellany, or Delightful Grove" titles which Walsh used before him. I have also found that he made direct copies of the small oblong dance books, which Walsh issued about 1714, etc. Did more examples of Wright's publications exist further instances might be pointed out. Sor far as I have yet found Daniel Wright, the elder, did not use any sign or emblem for his shop, though his son, when he set up in business for himself, used at least two different ones. It is probable that Daniel Wright, the elder, gave up business or died sometime near the year 1734. Meanwhile his son Daniel had, perhaps about 1725, established himself in St. Paul's Church Yeard, at the sign of the "Golden Bass," which may, or may not, have been the shop J. Clarke and John Hare had held under the sign "The Golden Viol." For some years the Wrights' published works in conjunction and these have the two names and addresses on the imprint. About 1735 Daniel Wright, junior, changed his sign to the "Violin and Flute," but as he was still on the north side of St. Paul's Church Yard it is probable that he did not remove from the premises. I have not found out when he ceased business, but it was likely before 1740.

Whether the whole or part of his stock-in-trade was bought by John Johnson, of Cheapside, I am unable to say, but Johnson certainly re-published two volumes of Country Dances in oblong 8vo, which were entitled "Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances," vol. 1st and 2nd. The preface to volume one is singed D. Wright, and the two volumes are advertised on one of Wrights' books.

Hawkins sums up the character of the elder Wright as a man 'who never printed anything that he did not steal' (History of Music, Novello ed., p. 884). However, as has been pointed out, Hawkins is not always reliable, and as Kidson notes (above), in a time of few copyright protections it was a fairly common practice for music sellers to 'borrow' from one another.