Printed song sheet, 'The Real Jim Crow'

Printed song sheet, 'The Real Jim Crow'

Printed song sheet
'The Real Jim Crow'
Written by Alfred Bunn, illlustrations by John Brandard
Drury Lane Theatre, London
About 1830
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is an illustrated music sheet from the 1830s, with the title and images on the front and music and lyrics inside. This was a progression from the single ballad sheets with one side showing both music, lyrics and images. Publishers realised that the power of an image would sell and this song sheet shows 14 images, produced through lithography. This is an early example of illustrations by John Brandard one of the masters of Victorian illustrated music sheets. The music sheet is for the song 'Oh England Is de Grand Place, or the Real Jim Crow', written by Alfred Bunn and sung by the comedian and singer Paul Bedford in the pantomime Harlequin Gammer Gurton at Drury Lane. The song and dance in the pantomime was a parody of 'Jump Jim Crow', a song which became a huge 19th century hit in the United States. It was first performed in 1828 by the white comedian and minstrel Thomas Dartmouth Rice, blacked up as an African American.