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18th and 19th Centuries

The Works of Shakespear
Oxford: Printed at the Theatre, 1744.

Edited by Sir Thomas Hanmer, this 6 volume edition includes a preface by Alexander Pope. Thirty one of the plates in this edition are by Francis Hayman (1708-1776), and the remaining five are by Hubert Gravelot (1699-1773). All are engraved by Gravelot, who also executed the tail-pieces. This was an important edition, blending Gravelot's more rococo French style with Hayman's English style. Shown here is a plate titled The Life and Death of Richard III, illustration by Hubert Gravelot.

Life and Death
of Richard III
Sir Thomas Hanmer retained a great deal of control over the illustrations for this edition, although not all of the illustrations follow his directions. The contract between Hanmer and Francis Hayman begins, "The said Francis Hayman is to design and delineate a drawing to be prefix'd to each Play of Shakespear taking the subject of such scenes as Sr Thomas Hanmer shall direct ...". Not all drawings Hayman did met with Hanmer's approval. He wrote to Hayman, "I return you the three projects you sent me for Drawings, upon which I take it to be my business to criticise that you may reconsider and improve upon them." Below is Hanmer's recommendation for the illustration for Love's Labours Lost which is shown here.

Love's Labours Lost, illustration by Francis Hayman "A pleasant Countrey with a rich tent appearing at a little distance either in whole or in part. The french Princess with the three Ladies who accompany her. To them enter Boyet a french Gentleman as in hast and in a merry laughing mood. He points backward as giving them intelligence of the King and his company coming in a ridiculous disguise."

Image from Love's Labours Lost

The Plays of William Shakespeare
From the corrected text of Johnson and Steevens.
London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1807.

The plates in this 6 volume set are from the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery.Shown here illustrating a scene from The Tempest is the work of Matthew William Peters (1741-1814); his five paintings for the Gallery were very popular at the time. This illustration from King Lear is from a painting by Robert Smirke (1752-1845). Smirke was one of the major contributors to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, contributing 26 pictures.
The Tempest King Lear
From King Henry VI, "The Death of Cardinal Beaufort" by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was considered the finest painting in the Gallery, and Reynold's best work. This scene from Antony and Cleopatra is by Henry Tresham. William Hamilton did this scene from Richard II
The Death of Cardinal Beaufort Antony and Cleopatra Richard II

The Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare
Chiswick: Printed by C. Whittingham, 1823
The illustrations in this volume were all done by John Thurston (1774-1822).

King Lear
King Lear
The Tempest
The Tempest
Midsummer Night's Dream
Midsummer Night's Dream

The Works of Shakespere
Revised from the best authorities: with a memoir, and essay on his genius, by Barry Cornwall: also, annotations and introductory remarks on the plays, by many distinguished writers.
London: Robert Tyas, 1843.

Illustrated with wood engravings from designs by Kenny Meadows (1790-1874). This is the first edition to seriously attempt to integrate the text and the illustrations on the page.


The American Edition of Boydell's Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakespeare

New York: Restored and published with original descriptions of the plates by Shearjashub Spooner, 1852.
This two volume set contains the prints from the Boydell Shakespeare gallery. Shown here if a plate by Henry (Johann Heinrich) Fuseli for Midsummer Night's Dream.

Midsummer Night's Dream

The Works of Shakspere
Imperial edition
New York: Virtue & Yorston, [1875-1876]

Charles Knight edited this 2 volume set, with "Illustrations on steel" by a variety of artists. Shown here is an illustration from Hamlet done by British artist Daniel Maclise (1806-1870). This plate from Macbeth is by A. Johnston. Ophelia, by Arthur Hughes (1832-1915).
Hughes often used circles and semi-circles for his illustrations.
Hamlet Macbeth Ophelia

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