Record number 04/3342
Author Shakespeare, William, 1564 - 1616,
TitleThe Plays Of William Shakspeare, Accurately printed from the Text of the corrected copy left by the late George Steevens, Esq. With A Series Of Engravings, From Original Designs Of Henry Fuseli, Esq. R.A. Professor Of Painting: And A Selection Of Explanatory And Historical Notes, From the most eminent Commentators; A History of the Stage, a Life of Shakspeare, &c. By Alexander Chalmers, A.M. - In Ten Volumes. - Volume I. ... (- Volume X. ...)
ImprintLondon:: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; J. Johnson; R. Baldwin; H.L. Gardner; W. J. and J. Richardson; J. Nichols and Son; T. Payne; R. Faulder; G. and J. Robinson; W. Lowndes; G. Wilkie; Scatcherd and Letterman; T. Egerton; J. Walker; W. Clarke and Son; J. Barker and Son; D. Ogilvy and Son; Cuthell and Martin; R. Lea; P. Macqueen; Lackington, Allen and Co.; T. Kay; J. Deighton; J. White; W. Miller; Vernor and Hood; D. Walker; C. Law; B. Crosby and Co.; R. Pheney; Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; Cadell and Davies; J. Harding; R.H. Evans; S. Bagster; J. Mawman; Blacks and Parry; J. Badcock; J. Asperne; and T. Ostell. -, 1805.
Physical Description10 vols. 230 mm. (Octavo.)
Physical Description NoteVol. I: [8], xlvi, [2], 119, [1], 309, [1] p., frontis. (port.), [3] pl.: [1] illus. - Vol. II: [4], 387, [1] p., [4] pl. - Vol. III: [4], 429, [1] p., [3] pl. - Vol. IV: [4], 418 p., [3] pl. - Vol. V: [4], 460 p., [3] pl. - Vol. VI: [4], 479, [1] p., [3] pl. - Vol. VII: [4], 402 p., [3] pl. - Vol. VIII: [4], 480 p., [3] pl. - Vol. IX: [4], 473, [1] p., [3] pl. - Vol. X: [4], 463, [1] p., [3] pl.
Content Format NoteVol. I: [Half-t., frontis., t.p.] - Preface (by Alexr. Chalmers 1804) - Sketch Of The Life Of Shakspeare - Shakspeare's Will ... - Chronology Of Shakspeare's Plays - Dr. Johnson's Preface - An Historical Account Of The English Stage: By Mr. Malone - Mr. Pope's Preface - [Text and plates]; [colophon]. - Vols. II-IX: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Text and pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. X: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Text, and pl.] - Glossarial Index; [colophon].
Summary NoteThe publication-date of 1805 is carried by all title-pages. Almost all plates carry pubication-dates, of 1803 (Vols. I-VI) or 1804 (Vols. VII-X). The work was first advertised in January 1803 as about to be published in serial form; and was advertised in January 1805 as about to be published in book form. Besides this issue in ten volumes (1805) on finest paper, there were also two issues in nine volumes (also 1805) on two kinds of inferior paper, and one issue without copper-plates (and the title-page amended accordingly). In 1811 the work was reissued in 9 volumes, with and without plates.

The frontispiece of Volume I shows a portrait of William Shakespeare. The other plates show scenes from the plays (and are captioned with the name and scene-number of the play). The in-text illustration in Volume I (p.63) shows an Elizabethan theatre.
Responsibility NoteThe frontispiece portrait of Shakespeare in Vol. I is signed as engraved by J. Neagle. It carries the publisher's imprint of J. Johnson &c. and the date of Mar 31 1803. All other plates are signed as drawn by (H.) Fuseli (R.A.) and engraved by Bromley, R.H. Cromek, Rhodes, Dadley, I. Neagle, Taylor, C. Warren, Noble, Lee, (W.) Blake or Joseph Smith; and each carries the publishers' imprint of F. and C. Rivington, almost always with the publication-date.

The in-text illustration (Vol. I. p.63) is unsigned.

The printer is named on the versos of the half-titles and in the colophons: 'C. and R. Baldwin, Printers, New Bridge-street, London.'
SubjectEnglish drama - 16th century - 17th century
Pictorial works - Illustrated books - Great Britain - 19th century
Name as Subject Shakespeare, William, 1564 - 1616
Fuseli, Henry, R.A., 1741 - 1825
ReferencesD. H. Weinglass, Prints and engraved illustrations by and after Henry Fuseli: a catalogue raisonée (1994), nos. 189-225, p.237-68.

F. Licht, S. Tosini Pizzetti and D.H. Weinglass, Füssli pittore di Shakespeare [exhibition catalogue] (1997), esp. nos. 72-80, p.194-203. The wider context is studied in S. Sillars, Painting Shakespeare The Artist As Critic 1720-1820 (2006); H. Hammerschmidt-Hummel, Die Shakespeare-Illustrationen (1594-2000), 3 v. (2003).

The work of the editors is described in P. Martin, Edmond Malone Shakespearean scholar (1995); A. Sherbo, The achievement of George Steevens (1990); A. Sherbo, The birth of Shakespeare studies (1986); E.P. Willey, 'The works of Alexander Chalmers journalist, editor, biographer', in Bulletin of Research in the Humanities, 86 (1983), p.94-101.
Binding Note19th-century half calf, brown cloth-covered boards; gilt-decorated spines, lettered 'R.A. 1805', black morocco spine-labels lettered 'Shakspeare's Plays. - Chalmers. - Vol. I. (-X.)'.
ProvenanceA preliminary leaf of Volume I is inscribed in ink, 'To the President & Council of the Royal Academy of Arts this work is presented for their acceptance and the honor of a place in the Library of that Royal Institution - by the Author.' This copy was probably presented by Chalmers via Fuseli, as a result of the latter having been asked by the RA Council 'to undertake the purchase' of an edition of Shakespeare for the Library on 5 March 1810 (see RA Council Minutes IV, 199-200).
Contributors Steevens, George, 1736 - 1800, editor
Chalmers, Alexander, 1759 - 1834, editor, previous owner?, donor?
Fuseli, Henry, R.A., 1741 - 1825, draughtsman
Rivington, Francis, 1745 - 1822, publisher
Rivington, Charles, 1754 - 1831, publisher
Rivington, John, 1779 - 1841, publisher
Gardner, Henry Lasher, 1808, publisher
Richardson, William James, fl. 1799 - 1807, publisher
Nichols, John, 1745 - 1826, publisher
Nichols, John Bowyer, 1779 - 1863, publisher
Payne, Thomas, 1752 - 1831, publisher
Faulder, Robert, 1747? - 1815, publisher
Robinson, George, 1811, publisher
Lowndes, William, publisher
Wilkie, George, before 1774 - 1826, publisher
Scatcherd, James, 1828, publisher
Letterman, Charles, fl. 1799 - 1822, publisher
Egerton, Thomas, fl. 1782-1838?, publisher
Walker, John, fl. 1778 - 1828, publisher
Ogilvy, David, 1742? - 1812, publisher
Cuthell, John, 1818, publisher
Lea, Richard, 1746 - 1814, publisher
McQueen, Peter, fl. 1777 - 1805, publisher
Lackington, James, 1746 - 1815, publisher
Law, Charles, 1764 - 1827, publisher
Crosby, Benjamin, 1815, publisher
Pheney, Richard, 1750 - 1830, publisher
Harding, John, fl. 1799 - 1827, publisher
Evans, Robert Harding, 1777 - 1857, publisher
Bagster, Samuel, the elder, 1772 - 1851, publisher
Mawman, Joseph, fl. 1800 - 1828, publisher
Badcock, John, fl. 1801 - 1820, publisher
Asperne, James, before 1798 - 1822, publisher
Ostell, Thomas, fl. 1804 - 1808, publisher
Baldwin, Charles, 1853, printer
Malone, Edmond, 1741 - 1812
Pope, Alexander, 1688 - 1744
Johnson, Samuel, 1709 - 1784
Bromley, William, A.R.A., 1769 - 1842, engraver
Neagle, James, 1765 - 1822, engraver
Cromek, Robert Hartley, 1770 - 1812, engraver
Rhodes, Richard, 1765 - 1838, engraver
Dadley, John, 1767 - after 1809?, engraver
Taylor, Isaac, the younger, 1759 - 1829, engraver
Warren, Charles, 1766 - 1823, engraver
Noble, Samuel, 1779 - 1853, engraver
Lee, John, 1781 - 1858, engraver?
Smith, Joseph Clarendon, 1778 - 1810, engraver
Cuthell and Martin (London). publisher
Lackington and Allen. publisher
Kay, Thomas. 1742 - 1818. publisher
Deighton, John. 1747 - 1828. publisher
Vernor and Hood (London). publisher
B. Crosby and Company (London). publisher
Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme. publisher
Cadell and Davies (London). publisher
C. and R. Baldwin (London). printer
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