105 – A Collection of Old Established Irish Slow and Quick Tunes by Smollett Holden

An update by Geoff Hore 2008-2015.  The writing in black font is from A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music. The update comments are in blue font.


1      c1805

A collection of / old established / Irish slow and quick tunes / arranged for the / harp, piano forte, / violin, flute, flageolet / or / bagpipes /

Selected and published by S. Holden, Parliament Street Dublin. Below title: Price 7s 6 d. / British Below imprint: Fleming Sc. 46 Dame St.

title; pp 1-36, tunes (94); p [37], index.

  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.  (catalogue no. JM 6457A). 13.0 x 9.0″. There are no watermarks. A conjectured date [1806?] has been pencilled on the title-page. Bound up with book 2 of edition la below.
  • Sandeman Public Library, Perth. Formerly in the collection of Lady Dorothea Ruggles-Brise (nee Stewart-Murray). A date 1804 is pencilled on the title-page.

This appears to be an early printing, on sale before the companion volume 2 became available; hence I have classed it as a separate edition.

1a     c1800-06


Above imprint Book 1. Below imprint Fleming Sc but no address. The title-page of Book 2 is identical except for the differences described below.

  • Book 1: title; pp 1-36, tunes (94); p [37], index.
  • Book 2: title; pp 1-39, tunes (107); p [40], index.
  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.  (catalogue no. JM 4657A). Book 2, 13.0 x 9.0″. Bound up with book 1 of edition I, above). No watermarks.
  • British Library, London.  13.3 x 9.9″. The two volumes bound in one.

The title-pages of the two volumes may be from the same plate, although it is difficult to be sure since the British Library copies are rather badly worn. In each volume, the word ‘Book’ is printed at the left and the numeral 1 at the right, and in volume 2 the numeral has been augmented by hand to 11d. In the British Library copy a figure 2 has also been added at the left. In the British Library copy of vol I there is no discernible engraver’s signature, but the page is badly worn in that area; in the British Library copy of vol 2 the signature is just discernible and the initial letters ‘Fl . . .’ can be made out.

Smollett Holden was at 26 Parliament Street, Dublin, from c. 1800 to c. 1816 (Humphries & Smith), but this collection seems to have been published fairly early within that period. Brown and Stratton give a date 1800, but Kidson (p 211) gives c. 1804-6.

 According to Petrie, one of Holden’s sources was ‘Cody, alias Arch-deacon, an ingenious piper who, at different times, collected airs in Connaught’. (Ancient Music of Ireland, Vol II (1882), p 9).

2      c1840-44

A / collection of favorite / Irish airs / arranged for the / harp or pianoforte / by / S. Holden /

London, Published by George Ward, 90, Leman Street, Goodman’s Fields, / and may be had of the principal Music Sellers in England & Ireland. / N.B. These airs may also be play’d on the flute, flageolet, violin, or clarinet. /

Above imprint, left: Vol. [number entered by hand] Centre: Ent d at Stars Hall Right: Price 10s 6d.

  • Book 1: title; pp 1-36, tunes (94); p [37] index.
  • Book 2: title; pp 1-39, tunes (107); p [40] index.
  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.  14.3 x 10.6”. The two volumes bound in one. In the wrong order, the numbers having been wrongly entered on the title-page.
  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.  Vol 2 only, 13.1 x 9.5′.

The title-pages of the two volumes appear to be from the same plates; the index pages are from the same plates as those of the previous editions. Page 30 of volume 1 is a new plate.

George Ward was at 90 Leman Street only from c. 1840 to 1844. (Humphries and Smith).


  • Rev 00. (16 October 2008)
  • Rev 01. (31 March 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. The edition numbering changed from Roman to Arabic numerals.  Scanned image of Book 1, edition 1a inserted.

© Geoff Hore 2015