Text: Engraving of Six Bell Ringers.
Clavis Campanalogia, or, A Key to the Art of Ringing, by William Jones, John Reeves & Thomas Blakemore. London: Printed by William Browne & John Warren, 1788.
This engraving is pasted into the front cover of the Athenæum’s copy of Clavis Campanalogia and depicts six bell ringers engaged in the popular recreation of change ringing. Originally invented by youths, it was to become a social craze in seventeenth-century England.
The sound produced by ringing multiple bells in rounds, one bell and one strike at a time, using the mathematical sequences of change ringing produces an unconventional melody that is commonly associated with wedding peals. The caption under the unsigned hand-colored print reads, “The Blue Bells of Ireland goes well Boys well, And the Clapper Strike on e’ry side ding dong Bell.
For additional information about change ringing read “Campanologomania” by Katherine Hunt, Cabinet Magazine, Spring 2014.
Discovered by: Emily Winter, MFA candidate, Textiles, RISD