John Johnson



Johnson was an 18th century English music publisher, instrument maker and seller based in London. His business was founded in 1740, it is suspected he acquired at least some of the stock of Daniel Wright and Benjamin Cooke (publisher), both of whose publications he reprinted from the originals. Johnson came into prominence just as John Walsh was fading as the preeminent English publisher, and thus was able to publish works of Arne, Geminiani, and Scarlatti. He dated a large quantity of his publications, and the quality of engraving was high. Some of his more popular issues were volumes of country dances, some of which appeared in yearly sets.

After about 1762, when it is presumed that John Johnson died, the imprints are mostly that of a "Mrs. Johnson" or "R. Johnson", his widow, although she occasionally used her late husband's name. In approximately 1767, James Longman & Co. obtained the right to use Johnson's sign, "the Harp and Crown" for his premises at 26 Cheapside, on the south side, west of Johnson's shop.

After her death in 1777, the rival publisher Robert Bremner acquired most of Johnson's plates and stock.



  • John Johnson, I. Johnson, J. Johnson (1740-ca.1762)
  • "printed for I. Johnson, musical instrument maker, at ye Harp and Crown, in Cheapside, London"
  • "Ino. Iohnson, Harp and Crown."
  • "J. Johnson, at ye Harp and Crown, facing Bow Church, in Cheapside"
  • " the Harp and Crown, facing Bow Church (near Wood Street) in Cheapside" - 1740 or earlier-May 1748
  • "...exactly facing Bow Church" -- June 1748-approximately 1762
  • "printed for John Johnson at the Harp & Crown in Cheapside"
  • "printed for John Johnson Musick Seller at the Harp and Crown in Cheapside"
  • "printed for and sold by J. Johnson Musick Seller in Cheapside"
  • "John Johnson, opposite Bow Church, in Cheapside" - dated 1758
  • "J. Johnson in Cheapside"
  • "John Johnson in Cheapside"
  • Mrs. Johnson, John Johnson (ca.1762-1777)
  • "printed for Iohn Iohnson, in Cheapside London" - dated 1766
  • "printed for the author by Mrs. Johnson, in Cheapside"
  • "Printed for the Author, by Mrs. Johnson, facing Bow Church Cheapside" - dated 1769
  • "Mrs. Johnson, opposite Bow Church, Cheapside, London"
  • "sold by Mrs. Johnson, Cheapside, London"
  • "Printed by Mrs Johnson Music Seller in Cheapside No. 110." - dated 1771
  • "Mrs. Johnson, 110, Cheapside"

Plate Numbers

Sources Consulted

  • 1. Sadie, Stanley. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
London: W. E. Hill & Sons, 1900.
  • 3. Humphries, Charles and William Smith. Music Publishing in the British Isles From the Beginning Until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970), p. 194-195.

Authority control