1805. London: C. and J. Rivington, 1805.
10 volumes, royal 8vo, 10.5 x 6.5 ins., with a portrait frontispiece of Shakespeare and 37 separate engravings after drawings by Fuseli by Neagle, Cromek, Rhodes, Dodley, and two by William Blake. Contemporary diced russia, gilt-decorated and lettered, one or two minor chips and scuffs but overall a wonderful set in lovely condition. The plates are fine impressions. Bookplate of Houston of Clerkington in each volume.
§ A superb set of the large-paper issue of the best illustrated collection of Shakespeare’s plays (save only the elephant-folio Boydell). This was one of Fuseli’s major projects as a book-illustrator and it succeeds brilliantly; the engravings are dramatic and rich, and, in this edition, well printed. Blake engraved two plates after Fuseli for the book, his only illustrations of Shakespeare. Vol. VII for King Henry VIII and vol. X for Romeo and Juliet. There was a nine-volume small-paper issue with greatly inferior printing of text and plates but, as Bentley observed “the ten-volume edition is considerably more elegant”. Bentley 498. Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, XLVII. Item #124131