Singers and Musical Personalities ~ 18th Century Dramatists ~ Isaac Bickerstaff ~ 1733 - 1812

1.  Bickerstaffe

Isaac Bickerstaff 1833 - 1812: His Plays

1.    Title page of the published version of the Recruiting Sergeant  by Isaac Bickerstaff. Whittingham and Arliss, London, 1816.

His Dramatic Productions are in number nineteen.

Leucotboe, - - 1756
The Hypocrite, - -
Thomas and Sally, - - 1760
The Epbesian Matron, - 1769
*Love in a Village, - 1762
Dr. Last in his Chariot, - 1766
*Maid of the Mill, - 1765
The Captive, . .
Daphne and Amintor, - 1765
A School for Fathers, - 1770
Plain Dealer, - - 1766
It's Well in no Worse, - 1770
Love in the City, - - 1767
The Recruiting Serjeant
Lionel and Clarissa, - 1768
He Would if He Could, - 1771
The Absent Man, - -
Sultana, - (not printed. )
*The Padlock, - -

The pieces marked by Asterisks are all that now distinguish this Author.


2. Love

Love in a Village.

2.    A Scene from 'Love in a Village' by Isaac Bickerstaff. (Act 1, Scene 2, with Edward Shuter as Justice Woodcock, John Beard as Hawthorn, and John Dunstall as Hodge.)  by Johan Zoffany (1733 - 1810)  Oil on Canvas 54 1/4 x 65 in,   [Image out of copyright.  Current location unknown.]

Love in a Village is a ballad opera in three acts that was composed and arranged by Thomas Arne. A pastiche, the work contains 42 musical numbers of which only five were newly composed works by Arne.

The other music is made up of 13 pieces borrowed from Arne's earlier stage works, a new overture was by C. F. Abel, and 23 songs by other composers, including Bishop, Boyce, Geminiani, Giordani, and Galuppi, albeit with new texts.

The English libretto, by Isaac Bickerstaff, is based on Charles Johnson’s 1729 play The Village Opera.

Love in a Village was received enthusiastically at its premiere at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in December 1762. It became one of Arne's more popular operas, enjoying forty performances in its first season alone. The work's success began a vogue for pastiche opera in England that lasted well into the 19th century. One of its best known songs is the Miller of Dee.


3. Maid of the Mill

The Maid of the Mill

3.   The Maid of the Mill: an idyllic village scene with a church tower and a water-mill.   [Image in the public domain]

The Maid in the Mill is a late Jacobean stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and William Rowley.  It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.  The play was licensed for performance by Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels, on 29 August 1623. The play was performed by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre. Fletcher, working with Philip Massinger, would compose a play with a very similar plot a few years later, in The Fair Maid of the Inn (1626).

The Maid in the Mill was revived early in the Restoration era; it was performed twice in the 1661–62 period. Samul Pepys saw an abbreviated version at Apothecaries' Hall on on 29 January 1661.  The play enjoyed a rare modern production, albeit an amateur one: it was acted by a Harvard University fraternity in 1900.

This comic opera, The Maid of the Mill is first performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden in 1767. The words written by the author of Love in a village, Isaac Bickerstaff.   The author also compiled the music, largely from published airs, notably by Samuel Arnold and others.  The opera was based on Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela'.

The Maid of the Mill material on this page is reproduced from the Covent Garden version of the text published in 1791. A copy of this text, which is out of copyright, is held in the library of the University of California, Los Angeles and is available online.  Copies are available in several Scottish libraries.  A version produced at Drury Lane  and the 1822 Covent Garden edition is also available on line.

[from the published version of The Maid of the Mill and other sources in the public domain.]



Bickerstaff Anecdotes and Links

Top ~ Bickerstaff Anathematised  ~ Pamela   ~  Preface to Maid from the Mill  ~  The Maid of the Mill (a negative view.)  ~  Drury Lane Text on line  ~  Original 1767 Text ~ 1791 Text

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