SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616) – BOYDELL, John & Josiah (publishers, fl. 1760-1804). A Collection of Prints from pictures painted for the purpose of illustrating the dramatic works of Shakspeare by the artists of Great Britain. London: John and Josiah Boydell, 1803. 2 volumes in one, large 2° (677 x 528mm). Titles with engraved vignettes, engraved portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte after William Beechey and 93 (of 96) engraved plates. (Lacking plate XVI in vol. I 'Much ado about nothing Act III Scene I', and plates XXXIV 'Troilus and Cressida Act II Scene II' and XLVIII 'Shakspeare nursed by tragedy and comedy' in vol. II, first title loose, marginal dampstain in vol. I extending into images, some spotting and offsetting mainly confined to plate versos, a few plate captions trimmed by the binder.) Contemporary russia, covers with gilt frames, gilt edges (worn, covers detached). Provenance: Hugh Lupus, 1st Duke of Westminster (1825-1899, bookplate).
BOYDELL'S 'MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH ART' (ODNB). 'Boydell employed more than forty different engravers for the large-format and quarto versions of the gallery's prints. A number of high-profile engravers were employed on a handful of the plates, being paid exceptionally high rates'. The plates are after Henry Fuseli, William Hamilton, James Northcote, John Opie, Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Robert Smirke, Benjamin West, Joseph Wright and others.