[London: J. Wright, 1807]
[S] f YH 807
In the same year that the Bowdlers were producing a carefully expurgated Shakespeare, the publication of a facsimile of the First Folio reflected a desire to obtain Shakespeare’s original text at a fraction of the contemporary price of a First Folio (on average £38). This is the first of five facsimiles of the First Folio that were to appear in the nineteenth century, and was for over fifty years the only one. It was produced by letterpress, photolithography as a reliable method of producing facsimiles being unknown before Howard Staunton’s 1866 facsimile of the First Folio. It has no independent title page or editorial matter, merely two small notes recording the printer. As the head- and tailpieces of the original are not reproduced, the pages do not accurately resemble that of the First Folio, Even textually, this early facsimile was unreliable: the antiquary and collector William Upcott (1779-1845) discovered 368 errors in it, which according to Lionel Booth, the editor of the next facsimile (1864), rendered it “utterly useless for all purposes of study or critical enquiry”.