London: E. Nister, 
This edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is evidence that editions of Shakespeare produced for a fine appearance rather than utility were not exclusively the realm of private presses: Nuremberg-based Ernest Nister was a publisher primarily of undated illustrated books for children, especially (from the 1890s onwards) of toy and movable books. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a clear exception. It was obviously intended to be admired rather than read, with cardboard pages too thick to turn with comfort. There are 28 sepia illustrations within the text and six full-page chromolithographed colour illustrations by Julius Höppner (1839-1893), a German painter and illustrator about whom little is known. The edges are gilt and the text is printed within a frame and with wide margins, adding to the sense of luxury. No internal printed evidence reveals the purpose of the edition, but this copy is inscribed as a wedding present, and, given that the colour illustrations all emphasise love and marriage, it is reasonable to regard this as the edition’s raison d’être.