A copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, one of the most sought-after books in the world, has been discovered in a stately home on a Scottish island.
This copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, was found at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute.
Academics who authenticated the book called it a rare and significant find.
About 230 copies of the First Folio are known to exist. A copy owned by Oxford University sold for £3.5m in 2003.
Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University, said her first reaction on being told the stately home was claiming to have an original First Folio was: “Like hell they have.”
But when she inspected the three-volume book she found it was authentic.
“We’ve found a First Folio that we didn’t know existed,” said Prof Smith.
The goatskin-bound book will now go on public display at the stately home for the first time.
Adam Ellis-Jones, director of the Mount Stuart House Trust, said the identification of this original First Folio was “genuinely astonishing”.
The discovery comes ahead of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.