Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression.
London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot, 1632.
The Bishop-Stockhausen copy of the extraordinarily rare first issue of Shakespeare’s Second Folio. Of the nine imprint variants of this edition noted by ESTC, this is the first (Todd 1a). Among the other variants are title-page imprints for the four other publishers (Smethwick, Aspley, Hawkins and Meighen) and two reissues of the edition ca. 1641 or later. Folio, bound in full eighteenth century blue morocco with gilt titles and elaborate gilt tooling to the spine in seven compartments with raised gilt bands, gilt cornerpieces within gilt frames with central bevels and gilt fleuroned inner frames to the front and rear panels, all edges gilt, slate gray endpapers. Binding attributed by Bishop and Stockhausen to Christian Samuel Kalthoeber, the leading and most highly-sought after artist-bookbinder in late eighteenth century London. A German émigré, Kalthoeber create his own ornamental designed which were quickly copied and was patronized by King George III, novelist William Beckford and Catherine the Great. Engraved portrait or Shakespeare by Droeshout to the title page printed from the same plate as the First Folio opposite the initial leaf of Jonson’s verses, woodcut head and tail pieces. Todd’s imprint setting “A,” State 1b. It is believed there are fewer than 200 extant copies of the second folio which notably contains John Milton’s first appearance in print with “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare” (A5r). In near fine condition. Provenance: Cortland Field Bishop (morocco label; AAA/Anderson, 14 November 1938, lot 2077) — Henry Walker & Nancy Reynolds Bagley (bookplate featuring their Greenwich residence) — William E. Stockhausen (Sotheby Parke Bernet, 19 November 1974, lot 399). Housed in a full custom morocco clamshell box. An extraordinary example, in terms of both condition and scarcity, easily the nicest example obtainable.
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