Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Mr William Shakespear's comedies, histories, and tragedies. Published according to the true original copies. Unto which is added, seven plays, never before printed in folio: viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London prodigal. The history of Thomas Lord Cromwel. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The puritan widow. A Yorkshire tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine. The fourth edition.
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
Image Not Yet Available
SHAKESPEARE, William (1564--1616)
[Works. 1685]
Mr William Shakespear's comedies, histories, and tragedies. Published according to the true original copies. Unto which is added, seven plays, never before printed in folio: viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London prodigal. The history of Thomas Lord Cromwel. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The puritan widow. A Yorkshire tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine. The fourth edition.
London: printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders, at the Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange, 1685.
[12], 96, 99--160, 165--254, 243 [i.e. 253]--272, [2], 328, 303, [1] p. : engr. frontis. port. ; 35.5 cm. (2º)

The 'Fourth Folio'. One of two title-page settings associated with this edition, and the third of the three versions of the imprint, being a cancel, and therefore later. Unlike the second and third folios, this is not a page for page reprint of the first folio (q.v.); the text is considerably modernised from the third folio for clarity and ease of comprehension rather than being a faithful reproduction of the first folio, and this fourth edition formed the principal textual basis of eighteenth-century recensions of Shakespeare's plays from Rowe, Theobald and Pope to Hanmer and Johnson. The seven additional plays first appeared in this grouping in the second issue of the third edition, 1664 (q.v.). The words 'Pericles ... Cromwel.' and 'Sir John ... Locrine.' are bracketed together on title-page, and the celebrated portrait of Shakespeare signed 'Martin· Droeshout: sculpsit· London' is printed as frontispiece above Ben Jonson's lines 'To the Reader' rather than on the title-page as in the first and second folios. The dedication and the preface of the first folio edition signed by John Heminge and Henry Condell are retained. The matter on the recto of the 4th, the verso of the 5th and on both recto and verso of the 6th preliminary leaves is printed in double columns, differing in this respect from the first three editions. 'The Life and Death Of King John' and 'The Life Of Timon of Athens' (caption titles) begin new pagination on 2B1r and 3A1r respectively. The volume is paged in three parts, 1--272, 1--328, 1--303, with the following irregularities in the first part: the pagination 96 is followed by 99, 160 by 163, 254 by 243, and that by 254 repeated. There are numerous errors in pagination, not all of which are found in all copies; in the Soane copy these are as follows: in part I, pp. 33, 107, 109, 164, 169, 190, 191, 219, 246 are respectively misprinted 23, 109, 111, 160, 171, 186, 187, 221, 234; in part II, pp. 88, 93, 225 are misprinted 87, 92, 224; in part III, p. 67 is misprinted 76. Signatures 2B1 through 2C3 are misprinted B, B2, B3, C, C2, C3; 2D3 is misprinted D3; 2E3 is not printed; 2O1 is misprinted Pp. In each case the first signature in the quire has been corrected in ink in the Soane copy as in most surviving copies. See Giles E. Dawson, 'Some bibliographical irregularities in the Shakespeare fourth folio', Studies in Bibliography 4, 1951/2, pp. 93--103. ESTC r24524; Wing S2917; Greg III, 1121.

Copy Notes The frontispiece with the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson's verses 'To the Reader' is closely cropped and inlaid in a larger sheet. There is no record in the archives of Soane's acquisition of his copy of the fourth folio, which is in a nineteenth-century binding on the evidence of the endpapers watermarked '1818'. Copies of the fourth folio were sold at auction in 1765, 1786 (John Henderson's), 1787 and 1798. See A.J. West The Shakespeare First Folio (Oxford 2001), p. 88. West also records a sale of this Folio in 1834 (p. 98) and also at sales in 1800, 1812, 1813, 1821 (Kemble's), 1824, 1827, 1829, 1832 and 1834 (p. 100).

Binding C19th diced russia calf, thin-thick-thin gilt-ruled borders, thick-thin gilt-ruled spine with gilt-tooled ornament at head and tail and lettering, gilt edges.

Reference Number 1527


If you have any further information about this book,
please contact us:

books@soane.org.uk