Lee, John

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Dates Active in Dublin: 



64 Dame Street, 1775–78
70 Dame Street ('corner of Eustace Street'), 1778–1803


Also known as James Lee.

Son of Samuel and Anne Lee and brother of Edmond Lee.

John started work at 64 Dame Street before his father's death in 1776 (Pollard) and was referred to as a 'young beginner' with a music shop in 1775 by the Hibernian Journal (Carroll).

Listed in the Dublin Directories as a 'music seller' up to 1789, thereafter as 'music seller and instrument maker'. Listed in Carolan as musicians, musical-instrument sellers, music importers and music publishers.

In partnership with Edmond Lee, they published music engravings from 1788 to 1789 (Munter) under the imprint of 'John and Edmund Lee, Dame Street' (Humphries & Smith). Flood names the brothers as harpsichord makers in the 1790s.

[Dates and addresses differ according to sources: Flood, Hogan and Humphries & Smith give 64 Dame Street from 1776. Carroll gives the earlier date of 1775 citing the Hibernian Journal. Teahan gives 70 Dame Street from 1789 to 1803 but Carroll, Hogan, Humphries & Smith and Boydell (Calendar) give the dates as 1778 to 1803. Carroll cites the Dublin Evening Post for the 1778 date. Munter gives the dates only until 1789. McHale erroneously gives 66 and later 70 Dame Street.]

Select Product/Work List: 


  • The Duenna, March 1777 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • A Favourite Collection of the ... Original and Genuine Compositions of Carolan, the Celebrated Irish Bard, 1778 (Carolan) [cited as O’Carolan, Old Irish Tunes, 1778 in Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’]
  • 'Jackson’s Favourite Irish Tunes; Twelve Slow and 12 Quick Marches for Volunteers; Pocket Book for 1780, and New Country Dances for 1780', December 1779 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • 'Some pieces by Dr Cogan of Dublin', Summer 1780 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • '“The Music of the Touch-Stone,” Country Dances for 1781 and two additional volumes of Pocket Book for the German Flute', 1781 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • Castle of Andalusia, 1781–86 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • [Shield], The Overture, Songs and Duets of Rossina, set for voice, harpsichord, flute and guitar, c.1785 (Lawrence)
  • Jackson, William,Twelve Celebrated Songs, set for voice, harpsichord, violin, flute and guitar, c.1785 (Lawrence)
  • Kotzwara, Battle of Prague, 1st edn, 1786 (Flood, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’)
  • Jackson, William, Canzonets, adapted for the voice, harpsichord, violin, flute and guitar, c.1790 (Lawrence)
  • Aileen Aroon, variations on Aileen Aroon for the harpsichord, violin, German flute and guitar, c.1790 (Lawrence)
  • The Little Devil's Dance [and] Sigr Placido's Dance for the Guitar, c.1790 (Lawrence)
  • 'The Overture to THE SIEGE OF BELGRADE [...] The Overture to THE WOODMAN [...] The introductory rondo to THE PICTURE OF PARIS [...] Dussek's rondo made from a Russian air [...] New variations to the favourite airs of THE WHITE COCKADE; CORN RIGS and DUNCAN GRAY [...] John Lee's new country dances from 1791.', 31 May 1791 (Freeman's Journal, cited in Kerry)
  • Source(s): 

    Dublin Directories

    Flood, W.H. Grattan, 'Dublin Harpsichord and Pianoforte Makers of the Eighteenth Century', The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5th ser., 39.2 (1909), 137–45 (p. 143)

    Flood, W.H. Grattan, ‘Dublin Music Printing from 1750 to 1790’, The Bibliographical Society of Ireland: Short Papers, 2.5 (1923), 101–06 (p. 104)

    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. 28)

    Carroll, F., ‘Dublin Music Sellers, Etc. 18th Century’, The Irish Book Lover, 31.6 (November 1951), 129–30 (p. 130)

    Teahan, John, 'A List of Irish Instrument Makers', The Galpin Society Journal, 16 (May 1963), 28–32 (p. 30)

    Hogan, Ita Margaret, Anglo-Irish Music 1780–1830 (Cork: Cork University Press, 1966), p. 102

    Humphries, Charles and William C. Smith, Music Publishing in the British Isles, from the Beginning until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century; a Dictionary of Engravers, Printers, Publishers, and Music Sellers (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 209

    Kerry, Frances P., 'The Music Scene in Dublin During the Late Eighteenth Century (1790–1800)' (unpublished masters thesis, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, 1994), pp. 32–3

    Boydell, Brian, A Dublin Musical Calendar 1700–1760 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1988), p. 259

    Munter, Robert, A Dictionary of the Print Trade in Ireland: 1550–1775 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1988), pp. 165–66

    Boydell, Barra, 'The Development of the Dublin Music Print Trade to 1800', Long Room (1996), pp.25-33 (p. 31)

    Lawrence, Thomas, ‘The History of the Guitar in Ireland 1760-1866’, 2 vols (unpublished doctoral thesis, University College Dublin, 1999), I, p. 34

    Pollard, M., A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550–1800: Based on the Records of the Guild of St Luke the Evangelist Dublin (London: Bibliographical Society, 2000), p. 363

    A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes Proper for the Violin, German Flute or Hautboy, [ed. by] John and William Neal, 2nd facs. edn by Nicholas Carolan (Dublin: John and William Neal, 1724; repr. Dublin: ITMA/Folk Music Society of Ireland, 2010), page 2

    McHale, Maria, 'Music', in The Irish Book in English 1800–1891, ed. by James H. Murphy, The Oxford History of the Irish Book, IV (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 595–601 (p. 596)

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Lee family (1)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Lee family (2)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Last Update: 20-05-2021