Goatskin-Bound Shakespeare First Folio Found in Scottish Private Library

By Gary Cutlack on at

The owners of the posh Scottish country pile of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute have lucked into quite the financial windfall, uncovering a staggeringly rare original copy of Shakespeare's First Folio within the racks of their personal library.

The First Folio is critical to William Shakespeare's legacy as this omnibus of 36 plays, published in 1623, is the only place where some of his greatest works were preserved so that they may be boiled down into films for our enjoyment today. Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, confirmed the find as genuine, with the three-volume collection joining the 230-odd other copies of the works.

Around 750 were originally produced, with one example fetching £3.5m at auction in 2003. Some or part of the known 234 may be reproductions, though, so this genuine copy -- with annotations and provenance dating its ownership and existence back to the 1700s -- ought to be one of the most valuable editions in existence.

It's being put on display at Mount Stuart, as part of an exhibition of exciting local old things that runs until 30th October. [BBC]

Image credit: Mount Stuart


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