SPENSER (EDMUND) The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Books, Fashioning XII. Morall Vertues; The Second Part of the Faerie Qveene, containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes, 2 parts in 2 vol., W.H. IRELAND'S COPY, PURPORTING TO BE ANNOTATED IN SHAKESPEARE'S HAND, 1590-1596
Lot 262
SPENSER (EDMUND)
The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Books, Fashioning XII. Morall Vertues; The Second Part of the Faerie Qveene, containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes, 2 parts in 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, W.H. IRELAND'S COPY, PURPORTING TO BE ANNOTATED IN SHAKESPEARE'S HAND, [Printed (by John Wolf) for William Ponsonbie, 1590]; Imprinted at London [by Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, 1596
Sold for £37,500 (US$ 62,965) inc. premium
Lot Details
SPENSER (EDMUND)
The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Books, Fashioning XII. Morall Vertues; The Second Part of the Faerie Qveene, containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes, 2 parts in 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, W.H. IRELAND'S COPY, PURPORTING TO BE ANNOTATED IN SHAKESPEARE'S HAND, with some 7 forged inscriptions or verses and several signatures of "Wm. Shakespeare", the inscriptions then transcribed by Ireland on tipped-in slips, woodcut device on each title (McKerrow 243 and 222), woodcut of St. George and the dragon on verso of M5 in volume 1, woodcut headpiece and opening initial at the start of each book, typographical border surrounding legend at head of each canto, inserted engraved portraits of Spenser in volume 1 and Ireland in volume 2, some headlines, signature marks and catchwords cropped, titles repaired (volume 1 with loss of a few letters and imprint), some soiling and staining (more prevalent in volume 2), worming in margins of last few gatherings of volume 1, volume 2 with H7 and I3-6 inserted from a smaller copy and occasional marginalia in an early hand (including a small ink sketch of a head on Q3), eighteenth-century green morocco gilt, lettered on spine 'Spenser's Faerie Queene. Shakspeare Mss. Notes', spines rubbed [STC 23081 or 23081a and 23082; Grolier, Langland to Wither 231 and 233; Hayward 22; Johnson, Spenser 9 and 11; Pforzheimer 969 and 970], 4to in 8s (180 x 125mm.), [Printed (by John Wolf) for William Ponsonbie, 1590]; Imprinted at London [by Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, 1596

Footnotes

  • "SPENCER, ILLUSTRATED WITH NOTES BY SHAKESPEARE!!!", ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF IRELAND'S NORFOLK STREET LIBRARY. "These volumes attracted more notice, curiosity, and veneration, prior to the detection of the forgery, than any of the printed volumes from the pretended Shakespeare library... [it] was hailed as an inestimable treasure by the believers in the forgery" (printed catalogue entry pasted to front free endpaper).

    In his Confessions, 1805, Ireland gave details of the books: "Upon the margins of this poem, printed in two volumes quarto, bearing respectively the dates 1590 and 1596, I was most particular in my comments; well aware that a writer of such celebrity as Spenser must have attracted the notice of Shakspeare... and so much were the notes esteemed, and such was the value conceived to be thereby attached to the two volumes, that a gentleman (who shall be nameless), positively made an offer to Mr. Samuel Ireland of sixty pounds for this edition of Spenser's Fairy Queen, with the marginal notes so introduced by myself as the comments of William Shakspeare."

    A highly unusual aspect to this copy is that it does not have the cancellans Qq1-4 containing the seven new sonnets (one addressed to Burghley) which Spenser was encouraged by his friends to add. Retaining only the original leaves Pp6-7 with the ten complimentary sonnets, our copy is either "as first issued end[ing] on verso [Pp8] (p.606) with the list of errata" (Pforzheimer), or had the cancellans discarded by a binder, which seems unlikely.

    Other issue points are as follows: the dedication to Queen Elizabeth is printed on the title verso (but with the printed signature "Ed. Spenser" cropped), page 309 is incorrectly numbered 319, the Welsh and English words in lines 4 and 5 of page 332 are not printed and have been filled in by hand (see Pforzheimer copy), and pages 486-87 are numbered correctly.

    Provenance: W.H. Ireland; Robert Lang of Moor Park, Surrey (1771-1832, friend of Sir Walter Scott), bookplate and manuscript notes on fly-leaves, including note recording purchase for £13.3.6 at the sale of Ireland's books and papers; Sir Francis Freeling (1764–1836, book collector, co-founder with Lang of the Roxburghe Club and whose son married Lang's daughter), bookplate; William Berry and Henry Cunliffe, bookplates; and thence by descent.
Activities
Lot symbols
Contacts
  1. Books (UK)
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3879
Similar items
Nicholas Hilliard (British, 1547-1619) A Pair of portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley Nicholas Hilliard (British, 1547-1619) Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603), wearing black figured dress studded with jewels and a fine white lace ruff, gold and ruby crown, seven sapphires in her curled red upswept hair SPENSER, EDMUND (1552?-1599, poet)  PORTRAIT, ENGLISH SCHOOL, EARLY 17TH CENTURY, KNOWN AS THE 'KINN James Clarke Hook (British, 1819-1907),   A Pastoral - "Then blow your pypes..." Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (British, 1871-1945) Fairy Arthur Joseph Gaskin (British, 1862-1928) Illustrations for the Shepheardes calendar  various sizes,