William Shakespeare rare books
William Shakespeare, (1564-1616), English poet and dramatist of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period; the most widely known author in all English literature.
Collecting William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare rare books come in all shapes and sizes, with something for all sorts of book collectors. Inevitably acquiring a First Folio in original condition is a dream of many, but the multi-million pound plus price tag, combined with the chances of finding such a thing, take it beyond the reach of most mere mortals.
Other collectors seek out individual plays, from across the first four Folio editions, which can be challenging but rewarding. For those looking for elegant works of Shakespeare without the hankering for antiquity, many of the Private Presses of the late 19th & 20th centuries produced many handsome editions, including the Nonesuch Press and Officina Bodoni. Shapero Rare Books also specialise in collected editions of Shakespeare, from the 18th century to the 20th century, often in handsome bindings, which are perfect for gifts, or just a bit of self-indulgence.
Collect William Shakespeare
6 vols, 12mo (140 x 110 mm); over 150 black & white illustrations including 15 double-page, small ink presentation to front free endpaper of vol. I, otherwise internally fine; later quarter morocco gilt, decorative gilt spines, all edges gilt, mild rubbing to extremities, otherwise very good.£650
Limited edition number 85 of 106 specially-bound copies on hand-made paper and signed by the artist, Granville-Barker and Rutherston, from an total edition of 606; 4to; colour plates by Charles Ricketts, printed at the Shakespeare Head Press of Stratford-upon-Avon; publisher's brown morocco with elaborate strapwork panels in gilt, by Zaehnsdorf, spine gilt, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, a little rubbed at extremities, joints starting but sound, small dent to rear board, otherwise very good-plus; lix, [blank], 84, pp.£950
Fourteen volumes, small 8vo, engraved portrait frontispiece of Shakespeare, numerous plates, a little spotting, mostly to verso and margins of plates, some margins trimmed, else very good, contemporary calf, maroon lettering pieces to smooth spines, other panels gilt, marbled edges, rubbed and aged but mellow and pleasant.£1,250
15 volumes, 8vo., EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with about 145 engraved plates by S. and E. Harding, Millton Park stamp to each volume, occasional browning and off-setting, mostly to margins and verso of plates, near-contemporary straight-grained light brown morocco, all edges gilt, a little rubbed and bumped at extremities, otherwise a very good and readable set.£3,500
8 vol., engraved portrait and 36 plates after Hugo Gravelot, one plate misbound (at p.209, vol. II, rather than vol. I), occasional spotting, mostly to edges, else very good internally, contemporary tree calf, red lettering pieces to each spine, marbled edges, rubbed, bumped on spine ends, a couple of joints starting but still firm otherwise beautifully aged with a marvellous patina.£1,400