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Married to a Mermaid

Date: c 1866
Dimensions:
Overall: 345 x 255 x 10 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00028262
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    On the cover of 'Married to a Mermaid' is a colour lithograph depicting a drowned sailor greeting a mermaid at the bottom of the sea. It also contains lyrics to the patriotic song, 'Rule Britannia!' Initially written in the form of a poem, it was first published as a song in 1740. This version of the song gained popularity in 1755 after it featured in 'Masque of Britannia', at a theatre in Drury Lane, London. This sheet was printed about 1866 and was sung by the comedian and performer Arthur Lloyd at music halls and recitals in the latter half of the 19th century.
    Significance'Married to a Mermaid' represents the production of songs with maritime themes in the 18th and 19th century. Mermaids have been linked with sailors and ships since the earliest times of maritime exploration and are often depicted as companions or temptresses.
    HistorySheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows.

    The mythical creature of the mermaid has long been associated with the travels and stories of sailors. Often they are depicted as sirens who lure seamen to their death.
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