SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.
Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.] London: Printed by Tho Cotes, for Robert Allot, and are to be sold at the signe of the Black Beare in Pauls Church-yard, 1632.
Folio (338 x 226 mm). A6 *4 2A-Z, Aa-Bb6 Cc2; a-y6; aa-zz aaa-ccc6 ddd4; engraved portrait to title page by Martin Droeshout, title page inlaid, date in imprint supplied in expert facsimile, neat repair to last leaf of text. Mid-nineteenth century dark blue morocco, gilt panelled sides and tooled spine, g.e., with modern custom morocco-backed clamshell box, some wear to joints, box bumped.
Provenance: Sir Edward Craven Hawtrey (1789-1853, bookplate); sold Sotheby's, 1853, to Sir William Tite (1798-1873); sold Sotheby's, May 1874, to Nattali; Sir Edward Sullivan (1822-1885, bookplate), sold Sotheby's, May, 1890 to Quaritch (collation note); William A. White (American, 1843-1927, inscription, dated Dec 1890); sale Sotheby's April 21-22, 1958 to Quaritch (collation note, "Collated, date scratched from title and a [miniscule] fragment of the plate mark of the portrait missing, one or two small rust holes otherwise complete"); Alfred B. Perlman (American, 1921-2003) (bookplate).
A HANDSOME, COMPLETE, AND LARGE COPY OF SHAKESPEARE'S SECOND FOLIO, the first issue of "incomparably the most important work in the English language" (Pforzheimer catalogue), including remarkably the first appearance in print of John Milton. The importance of the folio editions of Shakespeare cannot be overstated; without them as many as 18 of his plays may never have survived. Produced in a large format, and including laudatory poems and prefaces from his contemporaries, including Milton and Ben Jonson, the folio editions provide a testament to stature of Shakespeare in his own time. As Ben Jonson writes in his contribution, "He was not of an age, but for all time."
This is the Hawtrey-Sullivan-White-Perlman Copy, noted in relevant catalogues throughout the nineteenth century in the present binding and as a "very fine and large copy" (Sullivan, 1890). The title imprint and Milton's "Effigies" leaf are both in Todd's first issue, state b; the portrait in the third state, as usual. An unusually large copy, one of very few copies measuring over 13 inches, with fine provenance, of this cornerstone of English literature. STC 22274. Pforzheimer 906. Bartlett 120. Greg III 1113115. Todd, Studies in Bibliography, V (1952-53), pp 81-108.