London: Published by H.D. Symonds, 1799. Item #03177
"All the World's a Stage, and all the Men and Women Merely Players…"
Seven Remarkably Fine Hand-Colored Stipple Engraved Plates
STOTHARD, Thomas, illustrator. SHAKESPEARE, William. Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man Illustrated. Hammersmith: [W. Bromley], 1799.
Folio (17 1/2 x 11 inches; 445 x 280 mm. ). [1, blank], [1, The Ages of Man], ii, 14 pp. Stipple-engraved title and seven plates by William Bromley after Thomas stothard, each printed in colors by Collins and finished by hand, one uncolored engraved plate of text by Collins. Plates watermarked 1794, text watermarked 1796.
Early twentieth century full brown morocco by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with triple gilt border, spine with six raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Original blue paper wrappers with printed paper label bound in at the rear.
Includes a full page engraved speech from As You Like it,titled The ages of Man, featuring one of Shakespeare's most enduring and often quoted lines - "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits, and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages."
A finely bound copy of this beautiful series of illustrations after Thomas Stothard, one of the greatest illustrators of his era. Each of the seven ages is illustrated by a finely produced and executed color-printed stipple-engraving, supported by a number of linked essays on the lines that Stothard has illustrated. During his lifetime, Thomas Stothard, R.A. (1755-1834) achieved a reputation as the premier English book illustrator of his generation. His most notable illustrations were of the works of Shakespeare, John Milton, Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. A popular figure in the art world, he counted William Blake (who engraved many of his designs) and John Flaxman (whose neo-classical style was an influence) amongst his friends. This title is not mentioned in the list of Stothard's works books in Hammelmann, Book Illustrators in Eighteenth Century England.
Coxhead Thomas Stothard (1906) p. 96; not in Hammelmann Book Illustrators in Eighteenth Century England ; Jaggard p.287.