Printed song sheet, 'The Charms of Déshabille'

Printed song sheet, 'The Charms of Déshabille'

Printed song sheet
'The Charms of Déshabille'
About 1733
Museum no. S.12-2012
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is an example of an 18th-century music sheet, with a sophisticated image produced by engraving. There was a demand for the music as well as the lyrics on music sheets and this sheet has the piano part printed with a verse of the lyrics as well as the flute part. The image is larger than the woodcuts on early ballad sheets but image, words and music are still on a single page. This song is set to the words of a lyric poem written in 1733 by Mr. Lockman about the popularity of Islington Spa, or New Tunbridge Wells, a pleasure garden in Islington. One of London's smaller pleasure gardens, it was created after the discovery of a spring there in the 1680s. People believed that drinking the spring water would improve their health, and even members of the royal family were said to have tried it. Pleasure gardens were a popular form of recreation in the 18th century and one of the few public places where it was considered socially acceptable for men and women to meet.