Limited Edition of forty-nine copies, signed and numbered.
*This edition is now sold out.*
Distinguished Book Award 2000, Miniature Book Society Inc.
William Shakespeare had a highly successful career as an actor and playwright, but was financially even more successful as a member of the syndicate of players operating the Globe Theatre. This book traces his rise to the status of Gentleman, with his own Coat of Arms, a large residence and lands. The proceeds of his success funded Shakespeare’s purchases of land and property. New Place, the house he bought in Chapel Street, Stratford upon Avon, was one of the best houses in town and reflected the status he had attained. His purchase of the gatehouse at Blackfriars in London was rather more mysterious. In the event, nature thwarted Shakespeare’s carefully laid plans in a way he had not foreseen.
The Globe Theatre was the subject of a special edition of Royal Mail postage stamps issued in 1995. There are two versions, one before the fire in 1599 and the other in 1614 after it had been rebuilt. One of these stamps forms the frontispiece for each book. The stamps were designed by the renowned artist and illustrator, C. Walter Hodges.
The book is bound in honey coloured calf leather, hand dyed by Dennis Kellett. The cover is lined with hand made paper, and is blind-tooled and fastened with a strap and a brass buckle made especially for this edition by Lyn Antley. The 16th century-style binding, sewn on blocks and laced into the cover with vellum strips was inspired by cartularies in the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, shown to me by Clair Walton. The ancient technique is functional as well as decorative.
The illustrations were screen-printed from pen and ink drawings by the author onto Griffen Mill hand made paper and hand coloured with watercolors. The four double page spreads are mounted on guards, so they can be seen without a sewing thread in the center of the pages. Illustrations include Shakespeare’s Birthplace; Anne Hathaway’s Cottage; Mary Arden’s House; a map of Stratford upon Avon adapted from one drawn in the 18th Century, and the bust of Shakespeare as shown on his tomb. There are also two black and white illustrations.
Printed offset on 90 gsm Zerkall mould made paper, the book measures approximately 23/4" x 213/16", and has 80 pp.