Thornton, Robert

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Dates Active in Dublin: 

c. 1681–1718


The Unicorn, Skinner Row, 1682
The Leather Bottle, Skinner Row, c. 1685–87 [1718?]
Capel Street, 1691
Essex Street, 1701–18


Robert Thornton's advertisement in the Dublin News Letter (the first modern Irish newspaper, which he also published) of 30 January (repeated 13–18 February) 1686 [below] is the earliest known advertisement for music printed and published in Ireland.

Printer to the King in Ireland (Carolan).

Succeeded in business by his son Robert Jr., who later took his brothers into partnership, Thomas in 1722 and Charles in 1726.

[Dates and addresses differ according to sources: Munter gives the dates 1681 to 1718 (the year of Thornton's death). Humphries & Smith and Boydell (Calendar) give the dates as 1682 to 1701. The Leather Bottle address differs according to sources: Berry gives it from 1685 to 1718, Humphries & Smith give it from 1682 to 1701, Brian Boydell (Calendar) and Barra Boydell (Long Room) give it for 1685 (citing the Dublin News Letter) and 1686, and Munter gives it for 1687.]

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  • 'All the choicest New Songs, with Musical Notes, set by the best Masters, and fairly engraven on Copper Plates, will hereafter (if these his first attempts find encouragement) be published at 2d a piece each by Robert Thornton Bookseller at the Leather Bottle in Skinner Row. Dublin. Printed by J. Ray on College Green, for Robert Thornton at the Leather Bottle, 1685 (Dublin News Letter, 30 January 1686 and 13–18 February 1686, cited in Boydell, Calendar)
  • A New Irish Song, reprint published in London, 1684 (Flood, 'Music-Printing in Dublin from 1700 to 1750')
  • Last Update: 20-05-2021