SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. The third Impression. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Philip Chetwinde, 1663.
2o in 6s (322 x 211 mm). 454 leaves: COMPLETE. (Sig A3 is signed A2.) Engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout in third state. Roman and italic types. Double column within typographical rules, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces. (Some minor restoration fore- and lower margins of title and lower margin on "To the Reader" leaf, some dampstaining, otherwise very fine.) Eighteenth-century mottled tree calf (rebacked preserving original spine); red morocco pull-off case.
Provenance: Early owner's signature deleted on "To the Reader" leaf; early annotations on lower margin of title; previous owner's annotations in some margins (mostly in pencil); Darwin Kingsley (purchased from Wells for $15,000 in 1927 [invoice included]; sold Parke-Bernet Galleries 30 January 1941, lot 206 for $2600).
THIRD FOLIO. A VERY FINE COPY OF THE EXCESSIVELY RARE FIRST ISSUE, with title dated 1663 and with the portrait. The third collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, known as the third folio, is a reprint of the Second Folio. The first issue was published without the seven plays which were added to the second issue (of which only Pericles is authentic). The second issue also has the frontispiece-portrait captioned by Jonson's verses cancelling the "To the Reader" leaf and the 1664 title cancelling the 1663 title, or with both the cancels and the cancellanda present (as in the Berland and Foyle third folios).
About the Third Folio, Jackson writes: "This edition has always been thought to be the rarest of the seventeenth century folio editions but no authoritative figures are available. In any case, copies of this first issue are certainly less common than those of the second judging by the auction records alone. The legend, for the address of Chetwind's shop before 1666 is not known, that a large proportion of the copies of this edition were destroyed by the Great Fire would seem to be substantiated by the records..." (Pforzheimer).
Robert Allot's widow, Mary, was forced to relinquish her husband's copyrights before marrying Philip Chetwind, a clothworker who was not a member of the Stationers' Company. Chetwind successfully contested the assignment and recovered the copyrights on her behalf. Although his name alone appears on the title, other proprietors were Eleanor Cotes, Miles Flesher, William Leake, John Martin, Gabriel Bedell, Thomas Collins and Alice Warren. The printing itself was divided between Roger Daniel, a second shop perhaps that of John Hayes or Thomas Ratcliffe, and Alice Warren.
Bartlett 121; Gregg III, pp. 1116-17; Pforzheimer 908; Wing S-2913.