Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press and published by the Press for Basil Blackwell, 1933. Limited edition. Hardcover. Fine. Item #21920
4to. Two volumes. (4),xxviii,316;(4)273,(3)pp. One of 370 copies on handmade paper (of which 350 are for sale), this being copy number 171.
Half brick-red morocco, cream colored cloth sides. Cockerell marbled endpapers. Top edges gilt. Printed in red and black throughout in Caslon type, with 22 woodcuts reproduced from Wynkyn de Worde's folio edition of 1498.
The text is a careful reprint from de Worde's folio of 1498 from the unique copy in the Rylands Library, never before reprinted, and bridges the gap between Caxton's edition of 1485 (reproduced by Sommer and later printed in facsimile by Scolar), and Wynkyn de Worde's edition of 1529, on which most modern editions are based.
Sommer remarks that the woodcuts reproduced from the DeWorde 1498 edition represent the first attempt ever made of illustrating a text throughout with engravings. As for the text, the few pages lacking in the Rylands copy have been supplied, and indicated by square brackets, from the Caxton edition.
The woodcut illustrations in this copy have been hand-colored. We find no indication that the publisher offered a hand-colored editon, and so believe that s former owner commissioned them. They are delightful, colorful and in keeping with the 15th century style.