John Freeth [facsimile signature.]
Mezzotint on india. Plate 546 x 394mm. 21½ x 15½". Rare.
John Freeth (1731-1808), was an English inkeeper, poet and songwriter; he published work under the pseudonym John Free. As the owner of Freeth's Coffee House between 1768 and 1808, he was a major figure in the political and cultural life of Birmingham during the Midlands Enlightenment. He composed the song "Birmingham Lads" for the opening of the Birmingham Canal in 1769 using Charles Dibdin's tune for 'The Warwickshire Lads' which had been composed earlier that year by David Garrick for the Shakespeare Jubilee celebrations. The canal halved the price of coal in Birmingham.
[Ref: 23372] £280.00