Object of the Week: William Shakespeare's First Folio, as owned by King George III

Published: 20 April 2016

George III's copy of the First Folio will spend the 400th anniversary of its writer's death in Newcastle - open at A Midsummer Night's Dream

A photo of a copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio showing A Midsummer Night's Dream
© Courtesy Garry Smith / Newcastle City Council
Shakespeare’s First Folio has 1,000 pages and became the first collected edition of his plays, published seven years after his death. It had never left the British Library since its acquisition - before last month, when it went 282 miles north to Newcastle, to the City Library where it will be on display until the day after his birth and death day.

Printed in 1623, it has been left open at A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This copy was owned by George III and presented to the British Library – then museum – by his son, George IV, in 1823.

Around 750 First Folio are thought to have been printed. The British Library owns five of the 233 currently known to survive around the world.

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A photo of a copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio showing A Midsummer Night's Dream
© Courtesy Garry Smith / Newcastle City Council
A photo of a copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio showing A Midsummer Night's Dream
© Courtesy Garry Smith / Newcastle City Council
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