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SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. Unto which is added, Seven Plays, never before Printed in Folio. The Fourth edition. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627), except for Pericles and six spurious plays added by the publisher of the Third Folio, Philip Chetwin (d. 1680). London: Printed [by Robert Roberts and others] for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685.
SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. Unto which is added, Seven Plays, never before Printed in Folio. The Fourth edition. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627), except for Pericles and six spurious plays added by the publisher of the Third Folio, Philip Chetwin (d. 1680). London: Printed [by Robert Roberts and others] for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685.

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SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. Unto which is added, Seven Plays, never before Printed in Folio. The Fourth edition. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627), except for Pericles and six spurious plays added by the publisher of the Third Folio, Philip Chetwin (d. 1680). London: Printed [by Robert Roberts and others] for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685.

THE SUPERB GEORGE DANIEL COPY OF THE FOURTH FOLIO, EXCEEDINGLY FINE IN A RESTORATION BINDING

Large 2o (365 x 231mm). 458 leaves: COMPLETE (see collation below). Various French paper-stocks. Roman and italic text types 82mm, L1r-v: 69mm, larger cursive for running titles, various romans and italics in preliminaries. Double column, 74 lines, L1r-v: 91 lines to fit poorly cast-off excess copy, headlines and catchwords, pages box-ruled, woodcut initials, Shakespeare's portrait engraved by Martin Droeshout in fourth state.

RESTORATION BINDING: contemporary English gold-tooled black Turkey goatskin, panelled sides with double fillets and roll-tooled floral border, large floral tool at the angles, the roll repeated at head and foot of spine, red morocco lettering piece "SHAKESPEER PLAYS", the other compartments with foliate corner tools and flower ornament in the center, the same roll along board edges, leaf edges gilt, marble-combed endpapers (slight oxidation turning some gilt bluish on back cover, short split in upper front joint, rubbed in places, but IN VERY FINE, UNRESTORED CONDITION). The roll tool is of a common type used by Restoration ateliers, such as the Queens' Binders, Roger Bartlett and many others; the other tools are rather more distinct, but apparently unrecorded.

The Brewster/Bentley issue of the fourth collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, known as THE FOURTH FOLIO. It appeared no doubt at about the same time as two other issues: one in which Richard Chiswell shared, another that was marketed through the booksellers Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders. Only Henry Herringman's name appears in the titles of all three issues. 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.

The association with George Daniel, the freshness of its condition and the handsome Restoration binding, make a convincing case for calling this perhaps THE FINEST COPY EXTANT of the Fourth Folio. All four Folios are of extreme rarity in contemporary morocco and the last comparable copy in that respect to come on the market was the equally exceptional Foyle Third Folio in gold-tooled red Turkey goatskin (Christie's London, 12th July 2000, lot 455).

COLLATION: π2 A4 (π1r blank, π1v portrait and Jonson's To the Reader, π2r title and woodcut fleur-de-lys vignette, verso blank, A1 editors' dedication, A2r editors' note To the Great Variety of Readers, A2v-3r verses To the Memory of William Shakespear by L. Digges, J.M. and Ben. Johnson, the anonymous verses Upon the Effigies, and On worthy Mr Shakespear by J.M.S., A3v Milton's Epitaph on Shakespear and Hugh Holland's Upon the Lines and Life, A4r The Names of the principal Actors and A Catalogue [omitting the added plays], verso blank); 2A-Y6 Z4 (Comedies: 2A1r The Tempest, B3v The Two Gentlemen of Verona, C6r The Merry Wives of Windsor, E4r Measure for Measure, G2v The Comedy of Errors, H3v Much ado about Nothing, I6v Love's Labour's lost, L4v A Midsummers nights Dream, M6v The Merchant of Venice, O4v As you like it, Q2v The Taming of the Shrew, R6v All's well that ends well, T5v Twelf-Night, X3v The Winters Tale, Z4r The Names of the Actors, verso blank); Bb-Zz *Aaa-*Ddd6 *Eee8 (Histories and Tragedies: Bb1r King John, Cc4v Richard II, Ee3r first Part of Henry IV, Gg2r Second Part of Henry IV, Ii2r Epilogue and The Actors Names, Ii2v Henry V, Ll2v first Part of Henry VI, Nn1r Second Part of Henry VI, Pp1r third Part of Henry VI, Qq6v Richard III, Tt2v Henry VIII, Xx3r Troilus and Cressida, Zz3v Coriolanus, *Bbb5r Titus Andronicus, *Ddd3r Romeo and Juliet); Aaa-Qqq6 (Tragedies: Aaa1r Timon of Athens, Bbb4v Julius Caesar, Ddd2v Macbeth, Eee6r Hamlet, Hhh2r King Lear, Kkk2r Othello, Mmm3v Anthony and Cleopatra, Ooo5r Cymbeline); Rrr-Zzz Aaaa-Bbbb6 Cccc2 (Seven added plays: Rrr1r Pericles, Sss4v The London Prodigal, Ttt6r Cromwell, Xxx1r Sir John Oldcastle, Yyy5v The Puritan, Aaaa2v A Yorkshire Tragedy, Aaaa5v Locrine, Cccc2v blank).

CONDITION: tiny holes, tears or repairs in some 20 leaves (including F5, H1, L6, Cc4, Ee1, Ee6, Ll6, Nn1, Qq3, Aaa4, Fff2, Fff5, Ppp1), in some cases affecting a few letters, minor staining and browning in places, but IN CRISP CONDITION.

PROVENANCE: George Daniel (1789-1864), who formed a "Shakespearean library of singular importance" (De Ricci p. 148). He was the author of An Elizabethan Garland (London 1856), editor and annotator of several Shakespeare plays, satirical poet and the editor of John Cumberland's two collections of British plays; his library was sold at Sotheby's 20 July 1864, Sixth Day, lot 1419 (£21 10sh to Boone) -- Sir Henry Hope Edwardes (bookplate; sale at Christie's 23rd May 1901, lot 628, £100) -- Marsden J. Perry of Providence, Rhode Island, who formed the greatest American collection of Shakespeare before Henry C. Folger entered the market (bookplate) -- Frank Brewer Bemis (bookplate), his set of the Folios sold by Dr Rosenbach to -- Morris Wolf (Sotheby sale 6th June 1961, lot 43) -- Caroline Newton (bookplate), the set purchased through Fleming and resold to him -- Abel E. Berland 1970 (bookplate).

REFERENCES: Wing S-2915; Greg III, pp 1119-21; cf Pforzheimer 910 and 911.
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