Neal, John

Dates Active in Dublin: 

(1714) 1721–1740


Father of William Neal.

John Neal is described as playing the German flute in about 1714 (Carolan). He is first documented as selling music and instruments ('fidles') in 1721.

His first publications, in which his name appears with that of his son William, date from late 1723. The Neals published at least eighteen volumes of music between 1723 and 1733, after which John Neal's name does not occur on the imprints.

Rice states that 'the Neale family helped to establish a tradition of music printing in Dublin which exploited the absence of copyright law in Ireland'

Mark [could be John or William's]: 'NEALE/MAKER (heart pierced by two arrows)' (Waterhouse).

Succeeded in business by his son William Neal.

[Dates differ according to sources: Boydell (Calendar), Munter and Waterhouse all state his dates of activity from 1721 to 1734. Dix states that he died around 1734, Boydell (Calendar) states that he died in 1736, Munter states that he died in 1737 but Carolan states that he is known to have been still living in 1740. Note: there were two other John Neals in Dublin in the eighteenth century, both musical performers.]

Select Product/Work List: 


  • Tenor recorder/voice flute: Boston. Inventory number 17.1804 [attributed to John by Waterhouse but could be by either John or William] (Waterhouse)
  • Published (as listed in Carolan)

  • 'A choice collection of the newest airs and minuets proper for the violin, German flute or hautboy / [a Choice Colection of the newest airs, minuets, and play house tunes; faithfully corrected by the best masters here]', 28 December 1723
  • 'A colection [sic] of the most celebrated Irish tunes proper for the violin, German flute or hautboy', before 22 August 1724
  • 'A collection of the most celebrated Scotch tunes for the violin, being all different from any yet printed in London and carefully corrected by the best masters', before 22 August 1724
  • '[A collection / book of Irish and Scotch tunes for the flute]', before 22 August 1724
  • 'A musicall entertainment for a chamber. Sonatas for violin, flute, violoncello and six-string bass with a thorough bass for the harpsichord or bass violin. Lastly a Scotch cantata with the instrumental parts after the Italian manner. Dedicated to His Grace James, Duke of Hamilton and Brandon. Composed by Lorenzo Bocchi. Opera prima', 27 July 1725
  • '[The songs and dances in Faustus] / [The entertainment of Faustus]', before 8 February 1726
  • '[The songs, dances and airs, in the new musick, of the entertainment call’d the Inchanter, or Harlequin Merlin, consisting of above 20 folio plates. The vocal part compos’d by Dr Heighington, and by him carefully corrected]', 8 February 1726
  • 'A choice collection of country dances with their proper tunes, whereof many never before publish’d, and in an easier method to be understood than ever yet printed. Gathered, composed and corrected by many of the best masters of this kingdom', before 8 November 1726
  • 'A set of the most celebrated airs and play-house tunes as performed at the theatre, being collected from the works of Corelli, Venturini and others, carefully corrected and figured for ye harpsichord or spinet', 8 November 1726
  • 'The Rudiments or Principles of the German Flute, explaining after an easy Method every Thing necessary for a Learner thereon, to a greater Nicety than has been ever thought before, wrote in French by the Sieur [sic] Hotteterre le Aomain, Muficiano in Ordinary to the late French King, and faithfully translated into English: To which is added a Collection of familiar Airs for Examples', 8 November 1726
  • '[Mr. Percivall’s concertos]', c. 1726
  • 'A second collection of English airs and minuets with several favourite airs out of the late operas of Otho, Julius Caesar, Vesparsian and Rodelinda all sett with a bass, being proper for the violin, German flute, harpsicord [sic] or spinet', 4–7 November 1727
  • 'The whole music to the songs in the Beggar’s Opera carefully adapted for the violin or German flute', before 29 April – 3 May 1729
  • 'The whole musick and songs of the second part of the Beggar’s Opera sett with basses proper for the violin, German flute, harpsichord or spinet. Carefully corrected from the London edition', 29 April – 3 May 1729
  • 'The most celebrated airs chose out of all ye operas compos’d by Mr. Handel fitted for the violin, German flutf [sic], harpsichord or spinnet &c.', 11–14 October 1729
  • '[A collection of airs and minuets, with divisions on the Black Joak, together with several of the airs composed by Mr. Dubourg for his Majesty’s birthday, being proper for the violin, German flute, harpsichord and spinet. All set with basses and carefully figur’d]', 14–17 November 1730
  • '[A collection of English songs]', before 28 August – 1 September 1733
  • '[A collection of the most celebrated Scotch songs, with the musick and basses, carefully transpos’d for the flute at the bottom]', 28 August – 1 September 1733
  • Printed

  • ‘Great Variety of new Pieces for the German Flute and different Collections, printed by said Neal, particularly all the celebrated English, Irish and Scotch Airs; Country Dances; Faustus; Compleat Direction Books for all Sorts of Instruments, etc.’ (Boydell, Calendar)
  • Sold (as listed in Boydell, Calendar)

  • ‘Just Arriv’d from LONDON: A parcel of the Newest MUSICK, Compos’d by the most famous Masters in Europe, and are Sold by John Neale Instrument-Maker in Christ-Church-Yard, Dublin; where all Gentlemen may be furnish’d with New Musick as it comes out of London. Note, there is FIDLES to be had, with Direction-Books for all Sorts of Instruments’ […]', 1721
  • ‘Note, Mr Neal continues to sell the choicest and newest Musick with all the newest Operas, where Gentlemen may be supply’d with ‘em immediately after it comes out in London; as also, with the best of English Fiddles as approv’d of by the best Masters in this Kingdom; likewise, the best choice Fiddles made here, with Direction Books for all Sorts of Instruments’, October 1723
  • ‘The newest English, Irish and Scotch Airs and Minutes’, 8 February 1726
  • ‘The new Operas’s of Admetus and Alexander’, 5 July 1727
  • ‘Giminiani’s [sic] Concerto’s on Corelli’s Solos’, 1–5 May 1727
  • 'A Collection of the choicest Songs, chose out of the Operas composed by Mr Handel: Likewise there is lately arriv’d a Parcel of Barret’s best English Fiddles, at three Guineas each’, 11–14 October 1729
  • ‘A selection of Scotch Songs carefully transpos’d for the Flute at the Bottom’ ‘Also arrived a Parcel of choice English fiddles’, 28 August – 1 September 1733
  • See Also: 

    Dublin Journal, 8 February 1736, p. 2

    Flood, W.H. Grattan, 'Music-Printing in Dublin from 1700 to 1750', The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5th ser., 38.1 (30 September 1908), 236–40 (pp. 236–38)

    Flood, W.H. Grattan, ‘John and William Neale, Music Printers, 1721–1741’, The Bibliographical Society of Ireland: Short Papers, 3.8 (1928), 85–89

    Dix, E.R. McC., ‘Some Dublin Music Printers and Music Sellers of the Eighteenth Century’, The Irish Book Lover, 18.1 (January/February 1930), 26–28 (p. 27)

    A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes Proper for the Violin, German Flute or Hautboy, [ed. by] John and William Neal, facs. edn by Nicholas Carolan (Dublin: John and William Neal, 1724; repr. Dublin: Folk Music Society of Ireland, 1986)

    Boydell, Brian, A Dublin Musical Calendar 1700–1760 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1988), pp. 38, 40–43, 46–48, 54–55, 63, 68, 95, 259

    Munter, Robert, A Dictionary of the Print Trade in Ireland: 1550–1775 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1988), p. 194

    Rice, John Kenneth, 'The Life and Work of Thomas Perry' (unpublished doctoral thesis, St Patrick's College Maynooth, 1993), p. 17

    Waterhouse, William, The New Langwill Index: a Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors (London: Tony Bingham, 1993), p. 279

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Neal(e), John and William (1)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Neal(e), John and William (2)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Neal(e), John and William (3)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Neal(e), John and William (4)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <>

    Last Update: 12-02-2017