Thomas Snodham

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Thomas Snodham was an English printer. He was a specialist music printer, but music accounted for as little as 10 per cent of the books he printed. [1] His other output included plays.


The second quarto of the play Thomas Lord Cromwell, printed by Snodham Thomas Lord Cromwell.jpg
The second quarto of the play Thomas Lord Cromwell , printed by Snodham

Early life

Snodham was the son of a draper. In 1595 he was apprenticed to his uncle, the printer Thomas East. East had started as a general printer, but specialised in music printing after acquiring music type from a deceased printer. He printed works by well-known composers such as William Byrd and John Dowland. [2]

Printing career

Snodham became a freeman of the Stationers Company in 1602. He printed his first book the following year, King James his entertainment at Theobalds, which was sold from East's premises. [3] When East died in 1608, his will made clear that he wanted Snodham to take over his business, while at the same time he made provision for the financial security of his widow Lucretia. [4] Snodham acquired East's printing equipment and worked with some of the same composers such as John Wilbye. For a while, the business continued to use the old name; for example, the second set of Wilbye's 'Madrigals' (1609) is stated to be printed by "Thomas East, alias Snodham". Snodham died in 1626.

Snodham and English drama

In 1612, Snodham printed the first edition of Ben Jonson's play The Alchemist, which had been premiered in 1610 by the King's Men. The following year he printed the second quarto of Thomas Lord Cromwell .

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  1. "Thomas Snodham, and the printing of William Byrd's Psalmes, Songs, and Sonnets (1611)". John Morehen. Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2001), pp. 91-131 Published by: Cambridge Bibliographical Society. Accessed via JSTOR (subscription required). Article Stable URL:
  2. Jeremy L. Smith, ‘East, Thomas (1540–1608)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 , accessed November 2014 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  3. King Iames his entertainment at Theobalds vvith his welcome to London, together with a salutatorie poeme. By John Savile. The title refers to the final stage of King James´s progress from Scotland in 1603. The king stayed at Theobalds in Hertfordshire, receiving the homage of the Privy Council prior to entering London.
  4. Thomas East and Music Publishing in Renaissance England. Jeremy L. Smith (2003)