Publisher Edinburgh T. and A. Constable; Grant Richards 1903, 1904
Seller ID 006159
A spectacular set, with Cosway bindings done by Bayntun for each of the ten volumes. Also extra-illustrated with a total of 531 original illustrations, 525 of which are original watercolors, mostly done directly onto the pages, and 6 of which are pen-and-ink work. In addition there are 479 illustrated plates, virtually all of which were inserted into the publication. The total count for illustrations: 910 plates and/or pages with non-text illustrations. This is copy 149 of 1,000, stated in Volume X, the only volume which in part was issued by Grant Richards -- and signed by Grant Richards on the limitation page. Small Folio, 33 by 21 cm. Full blue morocco bindings done by Bayntun. The set is obviously complete, but the volumes as issued do not quite synchronize with the volumes as bound here. The organizing principle of the binding is four plays per volume, until the tenth bound volume, which has two plays followed by Shakespeare's narrative poems and sonnets. As the last issued volume is from a different imprint, it is our sense that this is a mixed set, with the Constable portion having a different limitation. In our view, this is immaterial to the aesthetic value and quality of the set, as in its paper, typography and all other matters the set is entirely of one piece, and in fact the Grant Richards volume states it was printed by Constable on behalf of Grant Richards. Further, what makes the set most extraordinary is all that was added to the original printing, both in terms of its extra illustration and its spectacular binding. Condition: two volumes with boards expertly reattached. Touch up restoration of joints generally. The tenth volume's spine is brighter shade of blue than the other volumes, suggestive that it was bound a little later -- it was issued separately, we have already noted -- but to match. All volumes are clean and tight within.