London: J. Walker, 1820. Item #02686
William Shakespeare in Contemporary Red Straight-Grain Morocco
SHAKESPEARE, William. The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, From the Correct Edition of Isaac Reed, Esq. With Copious Annotations. The Life, Dr. Johnson's Preface. Farmer's Essay on Shakespeare. London: Printed for J. Walker, 1820.
Stereotype edition. Twelve octavo volumes (8 1/4 x 4 7/8 in; 210 x 123 mm). Engraved portrait and numerous plates designed by John Thurston.
Bound in contemporary full crimson straight-grained morocco with triple gilt fillets bordering a richly gilt frame and elaborately gilt spine. Decorative gilt board edges and turn-ins. Pale orange endpapers, all edges gilt. A few headcaps expertly and almost invisibly repaired. A fine and handsome set.
Isaac Reed (1742-1807), biographer and bibliophile, was an English Shakespearean editor. He produced a "first variorum" edition of Shakespeare in 21 volumes published in 1803 upon which the edition under notice is based.
John Thurston (1774–1822) was an English engraver and illustrator who began his artistic career as a copperplate engraver, working for James Heath. He then took up book illustration and soon devoted himself to it. Most of his illustrations were engraved on block, not plate; a writer in the Polytechnic Journal was later to describe him as "at that time the principal, and indeed almost only artist of any talent in London who made drawings on the block for wood engravers." His illustrations include those for James Thomson's Seasons and William Somervile's Rural Sports, as well as Shakespeare's works. He was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1794 to 1812.