Lot 146 of 163:
Second Folio edition of Shakespeare’s Works 1632  

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$200,000 - $300,000

Mr. VVilliam Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies

Shakespeare, William


Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot... at the signe of the Blacke Beare in Pauls Church-yard


[20], 303, [1], 46, 49-100, [2], 69-232, 168, 269-419, [1] pp. (A6, *4, A-2B6, 2C2, a-y6, 2a-3c6, 3d4). Title with engraved portrait by Martin Droeshout. Double column text within typographical rules. Woodcut headpieces and initials. (folio) 13¼x8¾, 19th century full brown morocco with gilt-roll borders, spine tooled in gilt, raised bands, armorial shield of Curzon (“What Curzon Helde, Let Curzon Holde”) on front cover, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt; bound by J. Leighton. The second folio edition of William Shakespeare’s Works, one of the landmarks of English literature. While essentially a page-for-page reprint of the first, the second folio is famed for its inclusion of Milton's “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare” -- the first appearance in print of any work of Milton's. Gregg notes that, “Though many errors were introduced in the course of reprinting, the text of the present edition shows signs of careful, if unauthorized, revision.” There are five variants of the first issue, three substituting the names and addresses of other publishers for Allott's. “These publishers were all proprietors of one or more of the copyrights of Shakespeare's plays,” observes Jackson, 'but their interests were much less than Allott's and consequently the proportion of copies issued with their names in the imprint was much smaller.” All the variants have the same colophon: “Printed at London by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.” This copy has the imprint designated by Robert Metcalf Smith in his exhaustive study as “Allot 4”, and the state of Milton’s contribution as “Effigies C”; William Todd’s scholarly analysis revises this to “Allot b” (2nd state of imprint) and issue 1b of the Effigies leaf. The preliminaries of this copy have been bound out of order, with signature * inserted between A4 and A5 (in the order *2, *3, *4, *1), and the leaves slightly shorter, perhaps supplied from another copy. 10 lines of old ink ms. notes on 2C2v (otherwise blank). Bookplate of Sam. Massey, M.D., on 1A6v. Ink ownership signature of R. Curzon, Parham, 1852, on verso of front free endpaper (this is Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche, a noted traveler, scholar and collector); signature of J. W— Thompson, 1948, to following flyleaf. STC 22274; Greg III, pp.1113-1116; PMM 122 (1st Folio).

Lot Amendments

A very nice, tall copy in a handsome 19th century morocco binding, with the following expert restorations and modest results of age: spine and cover edges a bit rubbed, a few small stains to covers; contents with some moderate soiling and occasional minor stains; “To the Reader” leaf with the printed portion apparently inset into leaf (but so expertly as to be virtually undetectible); title-leaf restored at upper right, the “ARES” in SHAKESPEARES and “opies” in Copies in expert facsimile, as also a portion of the background of the portrait, lower margin extended ¾", repair along gutter margin; ½" expert repair to lower margin of R6 with no loss of text; tiny burn-hole in T3 affecting portion of one word; expert repairs to tears in d6 & e1 with no loss of text; h6 slightly darkened; y2 with expert repair affecting parts of about 16 lines at middle fore-edge (with small portions of text possibly in facsimile?), tiny burn-hole in lower margin; 3d4 (final leaf) repaired with restoration moving diagonally downward from upper right of page, with facsimile text progressively effecting the final 20 lines of the right column, the word "FINIS" and the imprint statement, together with most of the lower borders. The restorations of text in each case are extremely accomplished, virtually undistinguishable from the original. An exceptional copy of of one of the most significant publications in the annals of English literature.

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