(London: for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685).
RARE AND IMPORTANT SHAKESPEARE FOLIO, the beautiful FOURTH folio printing of Shakespeare’s plays. Considered the stateliest and most handsome of the four folios, it was printed on Royal stock larger then the third folio which was in turn larger then the first and second. It also employed a new larger type and wider spacing. The Fourth was the first folio edition to be printed including the seven spurious plays, although folio sets of the seven plays had been printed for insertion in the second issue of the third folio. It was the last edition printed in the 17th century and the last printed before the editorial endeavors of the 18th. It is especially desirable and rare in a contemporary binding with fine gilt work.
A Shakespeare folio is one of the most desirable books to a collector of literature. Shakespeare is far more then England’s most famous playwrite. His effect on vernacular English is only matched by that of Geoffrey Chaucer. Our modern way speaking, and therefore thinking, has been more heavily influenced by Shakespeare then most of us may realize. From the way we sign our Valentine’s cards to the way we insult our enemies, Shakespeare is everywhere.
The first folio is now considered impossible for the private collector as virtually all copies are now in institutions. The third has been considered rare for centuries as the majority of copies printed were destroyed in the fire of London. The opportunity to purchase any of the folio editions in fully contemporary bindings, especially ones with such as small degree of later sophistication, is a very scarce occurrence. Item #25126
The fourth folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, the title-page is in first state, without Chiswell’s name in the imprint. Portrait frontispiece after Martin Droeshout with ten line poem by Ben Johnson entitled ‘to the reader’ beneath. Woodcut printer’s device on titlepage (McKerrow 263) and decorative woodcut initials. Large folio (347x225mm), bound in very handsome 19th century full brown paneled morocco, the think boards paneled in double-ruled blind and with blind stamped corner pieces, the spine with tall raised bands ruled in blind, the compartments each with a central gilt leaf device, one compartment gilt lettered, turn-ins beautifully gilt tooled, endpapers marbled, a.e.g. , 272, , 328, 303, . A wonderful copy, in all very fresh and handsomely presented, the binding with only the most minor evidence of age, very minor scattered light foxing or staining, seven leaves supplied from a slightly shorter copy (D1, 2G3 & 4, 3E4 & 5, 4B5 & 6), closed 2 inch tear to M1 neatly repaired, top corner of XX6 and outside edge of S4 with minor restoration.