IRELAND, Samuel (d.1800). Miscellaneous papers and legal instruments under the hand and seal of William Shakspeare ... in the possession of Samuel Ireland. London: Cooper and Graham for Egerton, White, Leigh and Sotheby, Robson, Faulder and Sael, 1796.
8° inlaid to 4° (293 x 231mm). Interleaved with 98 leaves of MS copies of William Henry Ireland's original Shakespeare and other forgeries, written by William Henry Ireland specially to make up this volume, plus one sample of the paper he used for his original forgeries. (Light spotting, small stains on a few leaves.) English orange morocco gilt of c.1813, red silk liners, red morocco joints, gilt edges (a little spotted, light wear at extremities). Provenance: purchased from Rosenbach, Philadelphia, 10 November 1944, $650.
One of a very few copies specially interleaved by William Henry Ireland with copies of his original Shakespeare forgeries. It is prefaced with a two-page manuscript note by Ireland outlining his creation of the volume. He states that he had suppressed the complete impression of the octavo edition, 'reserving no more than the annexed copy which, as a literary curiosity, consequently ranks Unique', and interleaved it with rewritten copies of the principal part of his Shakespearean writings. Despite Ireland's unmasking as the author of the Shakespeare documents and his own published confession (1805), he continued to produce copies of his notorious forgeries to ease his debts and to satisfy collectors; two volumes similar to the present one are known (Folger Library; the British Library). The present album was put together by Ireland in about 1813, and includes his forgeries of Elizabeth I, the Anne Hathaway letter, Shakespeare's profession of faith, and King Lear.