Theatre News

A Shakespeare first folio is unearthed in Scotland

A copy of the first folio has been discovered on an island in Scotland

The Bute Shakespeare first folio
The Bute Shakespeare first folio

A copy of Shakespeare's first folio – which contains 36 plays by the Bard and was published in 1623 – has been found in Scotland.

The book was discovered in a stately home on Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, where it had been sat for more than 100 years as part of the collection of the Marquess of Bute.

The book has been confirmed as genuine by Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University.

Smith said: "The Bute copy has a really clear set of owners who have left their fingerprints on the copy. Most notable is an 18th century editor of Shakespeare called Isaac Reed."

The first folio was published in 1623 and brought together most of Shakespeare's works. This edition has been bound in three volumes, which is unusual for a first folio edition. There are now 234 known copies in the world. Smith valued the book at around £2.5 million, but said there was no plan to sell it. The book will go on show from 7 April at Mount Stuart until 30 October.

The library at Mount Stuart is extensive and Smith thinks there are more books to be discovered there.

Watch Emma Smith on the first folio discovery

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