April’s Book of the Month: The works of Shakespear : in six volumes. Carefully revised and corrected by the former editions, and adorned with sculptures designed and executed by the best hands


Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, in The works of Shakespear : in six volumes. Carefully revised and corrected by the former editions, and adorned with sculptures designed and executed by the best hands.  Oxford, : Printed at the Theatre. 1744.

To mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (April 23, 2016), a six volume set of William Shakespeare’s works has been selected as the ‘Book of the Month” for April.

The above title page is found only in volume 1; the other volumes, 2-6 have title: The works of Mr. William Shakespear … 1743[-44].  The latter title appears also in v. 1 but in the form of an added title page.  This set was edited by Sir Thomas Hanmer, and it followed Pope’s edition of 1723-25.   Each volumes contains the Chandos portrait, views of the Westminster abbey monument and Stratford bust (the latter altered as in Pope’s edition), and an engraving to each play.  The engravings were all done by Gravelot after Hayman’s work.


The contents of each volume is as follows:  v. 1. Preface. Mr. Pope’s preface. Some account of the life, &c. of Mr. William Shakespeare, by N. Rowe. Comedies: The tempest. A midsummer night’s dream. The two gentlemen of Verona. The merry wives of Windsor. Measure for measure. The comedy of errors. Much ado about nothing.–v. 2. Comedies: The merchant of Venice. Love’s labour’s lost. As you like it. The taming of the shrew. All’s well that ends well. Twelfth night; or, What you will. The winter’s tale.–v. 3. Historical plays: King Lear. King John. King Richard II. King Henry IV, pt. I-II. King Henry V.–v. 4. Historical plays: King Henry VI, pt. I-III. King Richard III. King Henry VIII.–v. 5. Tragedies: Timon of Athens. Coriolanus. Julius Caesar. Anthony and Cleopatra. Titus Andronicus. Macbeth.–v. 6. Tragedies: Troilus and Cressida. Cymbeline. Romeo and Juliet. Hamlet. Othello. Glossary.

This set is no. 847 in a collection designated as Max Reinhardt.  Each book has a full mottled leather binding.  There are gilt tooled panels on the front and back covers or boards.  The spine has six raised bands with gilt decorated compartments.  Each volume has a brown morocco spine leather piece with the series title stamped in gilt.  The decorative endpapers are marbled with a French Curl on Wide Combed pattern.  All the papers edges are decorated with a red sprinkled pattern.

The works of Shakespear : in six volumes.  The Max Reinhardt Library Collection, PR2752 .H3 1744 v.1-6.

This set is housed in the Special Collections department of the Binghamton University Libraries, and available to be viewed by all.  The department is open to the public,   Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and by appointment.