ORIGINAL LEAVES FROM THE FIRST FOUR FOLIOS OF THE PLAYS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, 1623, 1632, 1663, 1685. Introduction by Edwin Eliott Willoughby.

Limited edition, number 46 of 65 copies printed on Whatman paper (after 8 copies on vellum). Folio. Publisher's original quarter morocco over patterned paper-covered boards with five raised bands and titles in gilt to the spine. 15 leaves of letterpress in black and red, with title border, ornaments, and opening four-line initial in red. With a leaf from each of the first four folio editions of Shakespeare's works tipped within a red-ruled border and preceded by a facsimile of the respective edition's title page, reproduced from the Huntington Library copies. Bookseller label of Philip Duschnes to the rear pastedown. A very good copy, the binding square and firm with a little rubbing to the spine and bumping and chipping to the corners. The contents with a touch of offsetting from the facsimile title pages are otherwise in very good order, clean throughout and free from any previous owners' inscriptions or stamps.

An excellent example of one of the most distinguished leaf books ever published, beautifully printed by the Grabhorn Press. The present copy offers an exemplary collection of leaves from Shakespeare's first four folio editions, consisting of: - First Folio: All's Well That Ends Well, Act II, scene 3 (pp.237-8), including the lines where Helen selects Bertram as her husband. Notably, All's Well is one of eighteen plays that made its first print appearance in the First Folio. - Second Folio: Henry V, Act III, scene 6 (pp.81-2), where Henry, having taken Harfleur, refuses King Charles: "Yet God before, tell him we will come on, / Through France himselfe, and such another Neighbor / Stand in our way." - Third Folio: King Lear, Act IV, scene 6 (pp.781-2), where Edgar and Gloucester encounter a wandering, mad Lear, who proceeds to ramble, with sporadic lucidity, about human folly: "When we are born, we cry that we are come / To this great stage of fools." - Fourth Folio: As You Like It, Act II, the full text of scenes 2 through 5, including the song beginning "Under the greenhood [sic] tree..." with a conspicuous misprint. A superb relic of the most influential work of English literature.

Stock code: 20419

£9,250

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