by William Butler (2000, Sotheran)
This is the first comprehensive history of musical handbells and their founders. The result of some 35 years’ research by the author, it begins with the evolution of small bells and moves on to the development of 17th century pattern-cast bells. The text moves on to deal exhaustively with more than one hundred founders from all parts of England. William Butler’s researches led him to almost every county in the country to examine historic handbells in churches, museums and private collections.
This ground-breaking work gives detailed references that will provide a sound foundation for future researchers to build upon. More than two hundred and fifty drawings and photographs illustrate every aspect of the text. Key features include the developing shapes of the bells, their fittings and the founders’ marks.
Appendices cover such divers topics as the identification of founders, a chronological list of all known handbell and crotal founders plus the most comprehensive bibliography of handbell related books and papers yet published.
This is a very readable book. Although the detailed research will make it a future standard reference book, the text is equally appealing to the general reader who simply wants to know more about handbells and their history. This excellent and important new book will be welcomed by everyone with an interest in musical handbells.
The book has 162 pages, sized 10″ x 7½”, library bound (hardback) with full colour laminated jacket. Priced at £19.50 plus £0.50 towards postage and packing, the book is available from the author.
Published in The Ringing World September 22, 2000 p951