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The Lightning Galop
London: Chappell, 50 New Bond Street, circa, 1854. Sheet music, 8 pp. and colour-lithograph cover, browning a little to edges, disbound but with early stitch-sewing still largely intact; very good. Illustrated sheet music for a fast clipper ship. A racy tune by the dance composer Charles d'Albert (1809-1886), this rare early sheet music features a particularly appealing coloured lithograph of the clipper Lightning, a vessel designed for the Australia trade and famous for making many fast passages in the mid-1850s. Built by Donald McKay of Boston for James Baines of the "Black Ball Line" out of Liverpool, the Lightning was, as the name suggests, perilously quick, and has since been called an "extreme clipper": in 1854 the ship made the passage from London to Melbourne in very quick time under the demanding Captain "Bully" Forbes, infamous for running with the lee rail under water. Powerfully constructed with concave bows, Lightning had a good full midsection with tumblehome, making her fast yet stable with good sail-carrying ability. The ship was also lavishly decorated to entice wealthy passages to brave the passage to Australia. After some fifteen years on the Australia trade, Lightning was lost on 30 October 1869 at anchor in Geelong when a fire broke out on board. The shoals on which the clipper was ultimately scuttled became known as the "Lightning Shoals". Although not dated, it is fair to assume that the music would have been composed in the hey-day of the clipper's fame. A copy is recorded in the collection of the National Library.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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