Craven Museum Presents The Shakespeare First Folio

. March 28, 2011 . 0 Comments

The Craven Museum & Gallery presents The Shakespeare First Folio. On permanent display from 25 March 2011

In 1623, seven years after William Shakespeare’s death, a compilation of 36 of his plays were published together in one volume. No more than 750 copies of this ‘First Folio’ were printed and today only about 230 survive, with less than 50 in the British Isles.

First Folios took over two years to print and, due to printing techniques used at the time, it is believed that no two copies of the book are identical. At the time of Shakespeare’s death, in 1616, 18 of his plays had not reached print. They only existed in handwritten actors’ stage notes and Shakespeare’s own drafts. Included in these unpublished works were some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Tempest. It is unlikely that any of these plays would have survived without the Folio. It is for reasons like this that it is thought of as the most important book in English literature.

In the early 1930s, a Shakespeare First Folio was donated to the museum by Miss Ann Wilkinson, daughter of a local businessman. Thanks to funding from Renaissance Yorkshire and a generous bequest from a private citizen, the Museum has the opportunity to display the First Folio for the first time in decades.

Because of its rarity, the folio needs to be kept in specialised conditions. Museum staff are planning a new display area which will allow the folio to be kept in low lighting. The display will include information about the folio’s history and an audio-visual interpretation. The First Folio will go on permanent display on Friday 25 March 2011, and the pages will be turned regularly.

Located in Skipton Town Hall, Craven Museum & Gallery has impressive displays of social history, archaeology, costume and art. The exhibition gallery on the ground floor shows a changing programme of exhibitions related to heritage and the arts.

Category: Museum News

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