Object Description

Third folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays, generally regarded as the rarest of the 17th-century folio editions. An unknown number of copies is thought to have been destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666. The third folio is a reprint of the second (1632), but the second issue adds seven plays to the corpus, although of these only Pericles is now considered authentic. The first issue came out without the added plays and with or without the portrait on the 1663 title. The second issue, as here, added the seven plays and is known with the frontispiece-portrait captioned by Jonson’s verses cancelling the “To the Reader” leaf and the 1664 title cancelling the 1663 title, or with both the cancels and the cancellanda present. Three paper-stocks in the preliminaries and the beginning and final quires of the book reappear in the added plays (all printed by Roger Daniel), indicating that the decision to print the extra quires was not delayed long. They no doubt added to the cost of the book, and a customer may have been given the choice of their inclusion or omission even after they were made available; early buyers of first-issue copies could no doubt purchase the extra plays separately and their binders might not always trouble with the intended cancellations, but simply add the new title and frontispiece. Provenance: Herman Frasch Whiton, probably American sailor and Olympic champion (1904-1967, bookplate); Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984), noted lyricist (bookplate; his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 24 April 1985, lot 75); Pierre BergĂ© (book label; his sale, Paris, 2015).

Object Condition

Sig. Z6 supplied from a shorter copy, B1 with long tear skilfully mended with loss of one letter, six small rust-holes and 11 small paper flaws affecting approximately 20 letters, a few short marginal repaired tears, some occasional minor dust-soiling, otherwise a fine fresh copy.

Object Classification

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