A copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, printed in 1623 and one of the most sought-after books in the world, has been discovered in a stately home on a Scottish island.
Oxford University academics, who authenticated the book on the Isle of Bute, say the find is extremely rare and significant.
The First Folio was the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays.
The discovery comes ahead of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University, said her first reaction on being told the stately home was claiming to have an original First Folio was: “Like hell they have.”
But when she inspected the three-volume book at Mount Stuart House she found it was authentic.
“We’ve found a First Folio that we didn’t know existed,” said Prof Smith.
The goatskin-bound book will now go on public display at the stately home for the first time.
Adam Ellis-Jones, director of the Mount Stuart House Trust, said the identification of this original First Folio was “genuinely astonishing”.
The First Folio, printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death, brought together 36 plays – 18 of which would otherwise not have been recorded.
Without this publication, there would be no copy of plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and The Tempest.
The book is also the only source of the familiar dome-headed portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout.
Prof Smith, author of Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book, says it is uncertain how many copies were produced – although some put the figure at about 750.
About 230 copies are known still to exist. The last copy found was two years ago, in what had been a Jesuit library in St Omer in France.
The Isle of Bute discovery adds another, but there is uncertainty about where this copy spent much …read more
Source:: BBC UK