The Second Folio
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies. The second impression
London: by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot, 1632
Folio. Title with engraved portrait by Martin Droeshout. “To the Reader” inlaid with some pen-and-ink facsimile, title restored and laid down, four preliminaries following the title rehinged, final leaf laid down. Occasional staining, some repairs, several leaves washed, some margins shaved close to rule. Finely bound in crimson morocco gilt, a.e.g., by Riviere. Half morocco case.
SECOND FOLIO, FIRST ISSUE, FIRST STATE OF THE IMPRINT [Todd 1a]. This is the second edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays, “incomparably the greatest work in the English language” (Jackson, Pforzheimer Catalogue).
The Second Folio includes John Milton’s “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare,” the author’s first published poem. There are five variants of the first issue, three substituting the names and addresses of other publishers for Allot’s. “These publishers were all proprietors of one or more of the copyrights of Shakespeare’s plays,” observes Jackson, “but their interests were much less than Allot’s and consequently the proportion of copies issued with their names in the imprint was much smaller.” All the variants have the same colophon: “Printed at London by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.”
Provenance: Sotheby’s, June 5, 1944, to William Foyle for £230; The Library of William Foyle, Christie’s 11-13 July 2000, lot 454.