BEECHAM’S MUSIC PORTFOLIO No 28 Registered. The Anchor’s Weigh’d. Copyright edition. A Wonderful Medicine. Canning & Cp., Lith, 3, Ridgmount St. W. C. [London, n.d. but ca. late 1890s early 1900s].
1890. Small 8vo, single folded sheet, pp. ; front and rear ‘covers’ printed in red, with music notation in black; some minor soiling and spotting, but otherwise very good. Another novelty advertising vehicle issued by the firm of Beecham’s, and promoting their famous pills for the cure of ‘bilious and nervous disorders’. Clearly a firm willing to embrace differing advertising opportunities, the ‘Beecham’s Music Portfolio’ eventually ran to some twenty volumes, each volume containing 30 popular songs for voice and piano. Originally published in St Helen’s, Lancashire, from where the firm was based, the complete volumes of songs could be purchased from the company, whilst individual songs sheets, as here, appear to have been sold, or indeed given away, by pharmacies.
The pills, originally sold as a laxative, first appeared on the market in 1842, and were invented by the chemist Thomas Beecham (1820-1907), grandfather of the famous conductor. The pills themselves were a combination of aloe, ginger, and soap, and unusually for patent medicines, they did actually have some positive effect on the digestive process.