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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Far, Far Upon The Sea', 'The Old Arm Chair' and 'The Lass O'Gowrie'.

Date: 1834 - 1886
Overall: 254 x 190 mm, 0.024 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017438
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Far, Far Upon The Sea', 'The Old Arm Chair' and 'The Lass O'Gowrie'.
    The ballad 'The Lass O'Gowrie' is likely based and is similar to a ballad titled 'The Bonny Lass O'Gowrie by Colonel James Ramsay of Stirling Castle. Although the words differ, the theme of simple love and a happy ending with no overriding moral message, is the same.
    The ballad 'The Old Arm Chair' was written by Eliza Cook with music by Henry Russell. The armchair in this ballad replaces the sweetheart as an object of affection. Whilst the owner of the armchair laments the death of his or her mother whilst sitting in the chair, an undying and desperate love for the chair is declared: 'But I love it, I love it, and cannot tear / My soul from loving that old arm chair'. By choosing to idolise an old armchair, the author parodies the traditional themes of tragic and unrequited love found in so many ballads.

    SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation, migration.
    HistoryBroadsheet rhymes and verses were the cheapest prints available during the 18th and 19th century. They were sold by street sellers known as Flying Stationers, who charged a minimal fee of a penny or half-penny. They featured popular songs that were often sung in homes, inns and taverns and covered a range of themes relating to contemporary events or stories. Printed alongside the songs were woodcut illustrations. Most of the broadsheet publishers did not date or mark their works, making it difficult to pinpoint when they were produced.

    The publication of ballads was part of the commemoration and production of material about shipwrecks. Ships were part of the everyday life in the 19th century and stories about their voyages, wrecks, record breaking voyages and commissions often featured in newspapers and commemorative souvenirs
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