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 other plays added by the publisher of the Third Folio, Philip Chetwind (d. 1680). London: Printed [by Robert Roberts and others] for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685.
Large 2° (364 x 238mm). 457 leaves (of 458, lacking title; see collation below). Engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout in its fourth state above the verses 'To the Reader' on verso of the first leaf. Roman and italic types. Double column, 74 lines, pages box-ruled, headlines and catchwords, woodcut initials. (Marginal paper flaw in 5 leaves, neat paper flaw into text without loss in F4, H1 and *Bbb1, tiny hole in 4 leaves, Mmm1 with small hole and loss of a few letters, occasional small stains, 4 leaves slightly soiled.) UNRESTORED CONTEMPORARY BINDING: sprinkled calf, sides ruled in blind, blind herringbone roll on bands, spine ends, and board edges, red sprinkled edges (a little worn, short tear at lower hinge and headcap, pastedowns partly lifted, inner hinges split).
Sir George Augustus William Shuckburgh-Evelyn (1751-1804), Baronet, Member of Parliament, mathematician, astronomer, and Fellow of the Royal Society (see lot 101 for more details on Shuckburgh as a bibliophile); tucked into this volume is a single sheet of Shuckburgh’s extensive notes describing this copy of the Fourth Folio, including its contents, page measurements, and a diagram of its layout; contemporary slip tipped to front pastedown noting ‘title-page wanting / this must be supplied / otherwise perfect / The 2nd – 3rd- and this – the 4th – Editions should be rebound – uniform. The first – when possible – exchanged for a better copy’. At his death in 1804 his collection was inherited by his daughter Julia and passed by descent: on Julia’s death in 1814 it passed to her husband, Charles Jenkinson (1784-1851, later third Earl of Liverpool); then to Lady Selina Jenkinson (1812-83), Lord Liverpool’s second daughter, whose first marriage was to William Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton (1812-35); Lady Mary Selina Charlotte Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (1833-99), only daughter of the above, who married William Henry Berkeley, second Viscount Portman (1829-1919); Henry Berkeley, third Viscount Portman (1860-1923), whose wife Emma Andalusia Frere Kennedy (d.1929) was the widow of Lionel George Henry Seymour Dawson-Damer, fifth Earl of Portarlington (1858-1900); and continued by descent to the present owner.
FOURTH FOLIO, UNRESTORED AND IN ITS CONTEMPORARY BINDING.
The Fourth Folio was set from the second issue of the Third Folio, containing the additional plays, of which Pericles is authentic, and was the last of the 17th-century editions of Shakespeare's works. It remained the preferred edition, regarded by editors, readers and collectors as textually the best until Samuel Johnson and Edward Capell established the primacy of the First Folio text in the mid-18th century.
The most striking difference between the Fourth Folio and its predecessors 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. Even with the additional plays, the Fourth Folio hardly contains more sheets than the First and Second Folios. It is the only edition in which each play does not start on a new page, it is in a larger fount and is more liberally spaced than the three earlier editions. In common with the Third, the Fourth Folio dropped the final 'e' from Shakespeare's name, a habit which persisted until the beginning of the 19th century.
The printing was shared between 3 presses, one of which, responsible for the first section, has been identified as that of Robert Roberts on the basis of the ornaments. One page of text was apparently overlooked in type-setting, necessitating two pages of L1 to be set in a smaller type in order to accommodate the missing text. The second section contains various errors in the signatures, some of which have been corrected in manuscript, very likely while still in the hands of the printer or publisher. The present copy has signatures Bb1 and Cc1 corrected in manuscript.
Three simultaneous issues of the Fourth Folio have been identified, differing only in the title-page (absent here), re-set to reflect Richard Chiswell’s participation and marketing through the booksellers Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders. Greg notes that 17 reprinted sheets are found in some copies; these sheets are in their original state in the Shuckburgh copy.
A TALL, FRESH AND CRISP COPY, retaining part of the deckle edge in several leaves and strong impressions.
COLLATION: p2 pA4 (p1r blank, p1v portrait and Jonson's To the Reader, p2r 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); A-Y6 Z4 (Comedies: A1r 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).
Bartlett 123; Wing S-2915; Greg III, pp 1119-21; Jaggard p. 497; Pforzheimer 910.