Leeds & West Yorkshire

Rare Shakespeare folios on display in Leeds

Copy of Shakespeare's First Folio owned by the University of Leeds Image copyright University of Leeds
Image caption The university was left the copy of the First Folio by a wealthy industrialist and book collector in the 1930s

Four Shakespeare folios owned by the University of Leeds have gone on public display for the first time.

They include a copy of the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays which was printed seven years after his death in 1616.

The items were left to the university by wealthy industrialist Lord Brotherton of Wakefield in 1930.

They are on display in a new exhibition being held to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

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The university said Lord Brotherton was one of the country's leading private book collectors of the 1920s.

Acquiring all four of the 17th century Shakespeare folios meant he had achieved the "holy grail" of book collecting, it added.

Image copyright Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Shakespeare's First Folio

  • William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 36 of which are contained in the First Folio
  • It was compiled seven years after the writer's death
  • It is thought around 750 copies were printed
  • Around 234 copies are known to still exist
  • It contains 18 plays that had never been printed before which would have been lost, including Macbeth, The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra
  • The Second, Third and Fourth Folios were printed in 1632, 1663 and 1685

Dr Stella Butler, university librarian and keeper of the Brotherton Collection, said: "By bringing together this material for public display we are sharing Shakespeare's legacy with Yorkshire."

For All Time: Shakespeare in Yorkshire runs at the Brotherton Gallery at the University of Leeds until January.

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