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The Standard Edition of the Pictorial Shakspeare.

Edited by Charles Knight.

London: Charles Knight, [1846] Stock Code: 128818
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Handsome contemporary purple morocco

A highly attractive set of Shakespeare's works, being the second edition of the profusely illustrated version of the Shakespeare scholar Charles Knight, following the first edition which had been published in part form from 1838 to 1841.

Knight (1791-1873) was already a Shakespeare lover and bibliophile in his teens, when he owned an imperfect First Folio which he made up by printing the missing pages from a facsimile edition. "His first major project as an author took shape in 1837, when he resolved to produce a pictorial edition of Shakespeare's works. He started searching for 'authentic' visual materials and began a critical reading of the texts. His edition was based substantially - indeed, too substantially - on the first folio edition, although he made comparisons with other quartos and, in some cases, with originals in the British Museum... Knight succeeded in contextualizing Shakespeare's life as no biographer except Nathan Drake had done, and in dismissing a couple of the more absurd legends surrounding the playwright's early life" (ODNB).

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7 volumes, octavo (240 x 162 mm). Contemporary purple morocco, spines lettered in gilt and richly gilt to compartments, ornate gilt border to covers enclosing gilt centrepieces of Shakespeare with theatrical symbols, gilt edges.


Illustrated title pages, 2 facsimiles of Shakespeare's handwriting and burial register, portrait frontispiece to vol. V, and 1,003 black and white illustrations in the text.


Light rubbing around extremities, some sporadic light foxing, else a near-fine set.


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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

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