Newcastle Shakespeare 'coup' as rare book goes on show
A rare copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio is leaving the British Library for the first time to go on show.
It is one of only 233 surviving copies of the first collection of his plays.
Newcastle City Council said being allowed to exhibit the book, formerly owned by George III, was a "real coup".
Jamie Andrews of the British Library said: "Sharing our collections with audiences across the UK is hugely important to us."
Just 750 copies of the book were published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death.
It is believed 18 plays including Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and The Tempest would otherwise have been lost.
Council cabinet member David Stockdale said it was an honour and a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to be lent "such a prestigious and important piece of literary heritage".
The British Library in London owns five copies.
Folio editions are made using sheets of paper folded only once, hence the books' larger size.
One of Durham University's copies made headlines when it was stolen in 1998 and then reappeared in Washington, USA ten years later.
Wearside antiques dealer Raymond Scott was convicted of handling stolen goods and hanged himself in prison in 2012.
The book will be on show at Newcastle City Library until 24 April to tie in with the 400th anniversary of the bard's death.