SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Mr. William Shakespear's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. Unto which is added, SEVEN PLAYS, Never before Printed in Folio. London, Printed for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, R. Chiswell, and R. Bentley, 1685.
Folio (354 x 222 mm.). Engraved frontispiece portrait, woodcut initials (portrait and verses beneath inlaid with a few letters in facsimile). (Title remargined, gutter margin of last two leaves mended with extensive repairs on last leaf, rust hole in K2 touching a few letters, a few spots and ink splashes, tears in lower outer margin of fols. Q3, Hh2, mends in lower margins of Ee6, Ff1, Fff1, and in outer margin of 4C1, dampstain in upper outer corner of quires Hh–Ii.) 19th-century blind-tooled tan morocco, edges gilt, by the Guild of Women Binders (joints restored, some repairs to spine and corners); morocco folding case. Provenance: Thomas Thomson (signature on upper margin fol. 1, dated 1704); Paul Peralta-Ramos copy (small Japanese style ink collector’s stamp on front free endpaper, sold, Sotheby’s New York, 18 June 2004, lot 230).
FOURTH FOLIO EDITION, issue with R. Chiswell in imprint. The edition was set from the second issue of the Third Folio. The Fourth Folio is the last edition of Shakespeare's plays published in the 17th century, and was regarded by 18th-century editors, readers and collectors as textually the best edition, until Samuel Johnson and especially Edward Capell demonstrated the superiority of the First Folio. The most immediately striking aspect of the Fourth Folio is its height. Herringman and his co-publishers decided on a larger paper size to increase the number of lines per page and decrease the bulk of the book; thus, including the added plays, the number of sheets in the Fourth Folio is almost exactly the same as that in the First and Second.
Greg III, 1119-21; Pforzheimer 910; Wing S-2916.