Robert Bremner



Robert Bremner (1713–1789) was a music publisher based in Edinburgh, and later in London. His company was very popular when it was first founded - the next year he was publishing music for the Edinburgh Musical Society. He is best known for publishing his own work, The Rudiments of Music, which is still used today.
The earliest reference to Bremner as a publisher is an advert in the "Edinburgh Evening Courant", 11th July 1754:

Robert Bremner, at the sign of the Golden Harp, opposite to the head of Blackfriers Wynd, Edinburgh, sells all sorts of musical instruments, viz:— Bass Violins, Harpsichords, and Spinets, German Flutes in ivory, ebony, or fine wood, Common Flutes of all sizes, French Horns, Bagpipes, Pitch-pipes, and Tabors, and all other sorts of wind instruments, also variety of the newest Concertos, Sonatas, Duets, and Solos for all instruments now in use. Likewise fine screw-bows, violin cases, double and single pins and bridges, hammers, jacks, and wire for harpsichords and spinets, reeds, rul'd book and paper, songs, music pens, and the best Roman strings, wholesale and retail. Commissions from the country particularly observed. N.B. — As the undertaker intends to serve gentlemen and ladies with everything in this way at the London prices, it is therefore hoped they will encourage him, and whatever music is wanted that he has not shall be immediately sent for.

Around 1762, Bremner left his Edinburgh business in the hands of a manager and moved his head establishment to London.

"Bremner's publications are always distinguished for excellent engraving and printing; the paper is thick and strong and where type letterpress is introduced, as in his "Rudiments of Music," and his "Instructions for the Guitar," etc., the character is so neat and clear, and in a style peculiarly his own that it is unmistakeable." 3

In 1764, Bremner bought most of the stock-in-trade and some plates from the sale of John Cox' (Simpson's Music Shop) estate; most of those of Mrs. Johnson in 1777, and those of Mrs. Welcker in 1779. After Bremner's death in 1789, Preston & Son purchased the stock-in-trade and copyrights, re-publishing from the old plates. The Edinburgh business was taken over by John Brysson.



Edinburgh (from 1754)
  • sign of the Golden Harp, opposite the head of Blackfriar's Wynd (1754-1755)
  • sign of the Harp and Hautboy, opposite the head of Blackfriar's Wynd (ca.1755-1759)
  • Harp and Hautboy, opposite Cross Well, High Street, Edinburgh (ca.1759-1789)
  • "Printed for Rob. Bremner ... and sold at his Music-Shop"
London (from 1762)
  • Harp and Hautboy, opposite Somerset House, in the Strand (1762-1789)
  • "Printed for Robert Bremner, at the Harp & Hautboy Opposite Somerset House in the Strand."
  • "Printed and Sold by Robt. Bremner, at the Harp & Hautboy in the Strand."
  • "Printed and Sold by R: Bremner. opposite Somerset House in the Strand."
  • "Printed and Sold by R. Bremner facing Somerset house in the Strand."
  • "Printed Robt. Bremner, & Sold at his Music Shop opposite Somerset-House in the Strand."
  • "Printed for R. Bremner, opposite Somerset House in the Strand; by George Bigg, successor to Mr. Dryden Leach. 1779."
  • "Printed and Sold by R. Bremner in the Strand."
  • "Chez R. Bremner. Marchand et Imprimeur de Musique dans la Strande"

James Bremner branch, ca.1770-1775


  • R. Bremner
  • Rt. Bremner
  • Rob. Bremner
  • Robt. Bremner
  • Robert Bremner
  • R. B.
  • Rt. Br.
  • J. Bremner

Plate Numbers


Sources Consulted

Authority control