Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.

Published according to the true Original Copies. The third impression. And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never before Printed in Folio.

SHAKESPEARE, William

A SHAKESPEARE THIRD FOLIO

SHAKESPEARE, William Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. The third impression. And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never before Printed in Folio.

Printed for P[hilip]. C[hetwinde]., 1664.

The third folio. Folio (329 × 215mm), 513 leaves (of 514 lacking the portrait leaf). Late nineteenth century red morocco by Riviere, with decorative gilt panels and corner fleurons to covers, raised bands with gilt tiles and gilt ornamented panels to spine. All edges gilt on the rough. Woodcut headpieces and initials. Double column, 66 lines, with headlines and catchwords. A very good copy indeed, with comparatively few internal flaws, notably: Discrete paper marginal repair to head of title; A3 and b1 probably supplied from another copy with paper repairs to inner and outer margins. There are also minor marginal repairs to C1, E2, L1, Z4, 2C5, 3G5, 3S3 and ¶G4-6 and repaired tears to L2, S2/3 (affecting a couple of letters), Y6 and marks to a couple of pages. These blemishes notwithstanding this is a generally well preserved and tall copy of the rare third folio.

The third folio, generally regarded as the rarest of the four great seventeenth century folio editions of Shakespeare's plays, it long being accepted that a significant (but unknown) number of copies being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.
Publisher, Philip Chetwinde, was the second husband of Mary Allot, whose first husband had published the second folio. Despite opposition from established booksellers and publishers (as Chetwinde was a clothworker and not a member of the 187 Stationers' Company), he succeeded in retaining her copyrights. Thus it was his name which appears on the title page, even though there were several other interests in the enterprise including that of printer, Alice Warren, whose warehouses were badly damaged in the Great Fire, probably accounting for a proportion of the loss.
The third folio is a corrected reprint of the second folio, but shortly after publication Chetwinde sought to augment the work with seven additional plays, supplying a new title page advertising this. His motivations for this are unclear, but modern scholarship accepts only Pericles as authentically by Shakespeare, the other six forming part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha.
The third folio's scarcity in commerce is illustrated by Harold Otness's 1990 census of US institutional holdings of the four folios which records 134 first folios, 178 second folios, yet only 90 third folios.

PROVENANCE: William O'Brien (1832-1899, Irish judge and noted book collector, bookplate to front pastedown); Milltown Park (bequeathed on O'Brien's death in 1899 with bookplate to front pastedown).

Stock ID: 36505

£187,500.00

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