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Cross, Thomaslocked

  • Frank Kidson
  • , revised by William C. Smith,
  • Peter Ward Jones
  •  and David Hunter

(b ?London, ?1660–65; d ?London, ?1732–5). English music engraver, printer, publisher and music seller. He was probably the son of the 17th-century engraver Thomas Cross, who engraved some frontispieces and portraits for John Playford’s publications, including the portrait of the composer John Gamble (Ayres and Dialogues, 1656), and who may have engraved some music. From 1683 to about 1710 the younger Cross often signed himself ‘Tho. Cross junior sculpt.’, as on his first known work, Purcell’s Sonnata’s of III. Parts (1683), printed for the composer. From about 1692 to about 1720 he kept a music shop in London. He was the first to issue songs in single sheet format rather than in collections, and from the 1690s a considerable number of these appeared under his imprint. At first they were engraved on copper plates, which was an expensive method considering the ephemeral nature of the sheet songs, but he later used a cheaper material, probably pewter. He had a virtual monopoly of the music engraving trade until Walsh established his business in 1695, after which they became rivals. Cross, however, scorned Walsh’s frequent use of punches rather than pure engraving and warned on one of his sheet songs ‘beware of the nonsensical puncht ones’. It is doubtful that Cross ever did any work with punches, despite Hawkins’s assertion that he did stamp the plates of a work by Geminiani. Despite their rivalry, Cross did on occasion work for Walsh, as well as for other publishers such as Cullen, Meares and Wright, in addition to issuing his own publications and engraving works for composers who wished to self-publish. References in Purcell’s Orpheus britannicus (1698) and Blow’s Amphion anglicus (1700) attest to his fame and to the popularity of the new sheet music. He engraved in a bold style and his early work is particularly fine. It is clear, however, that he employed assistants, which probably accounts for some of the differences in engraving style which occur on plates bearing Cross’s name, particularly in the later part of his career. Important works engraved in the Cross workshop included Purcell’s and John Eccles’s A Collection of Songs (c1696), Daniel Purcell’s Six Cantatas (1713), Handel’s Radamisto (1720; see Meares) and Benjamin Cooke’s edition of Corelli’s sonatas and concertos (1732), one of Cross’s last known works.


  • M. Tilmouth : ‘A Note on the Cost of Music Printing in London in 1702’, Brio, 8 (1971), 1–3
  • D. Hunter : ‘“A Note on the Cost of Music Printing in London in 1702” Revisited’, Brio, 26 (1989), 71–2
  • D. Hunter : ‘The Printing of Opera and Song Books in England, 1703–1726’, Notes, 46 (1989–90), 328–51; xlvii (1990–91), 647–85
  • D. Hunter : Opera and Song Books Published in England, 1703–1726: a Descriptive Bibliography (London, 1997)
J. Hawkins: A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London, 1776)
C. Humphries and W.C. Smith: Music Publishing in the British Isles
D.W. Krummel: English Music Printing (London, 1975)