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The Dramatic Works Of William Shakspeare Revised By George Steevens. Vol. I. (- IX.)

William Shakespeare

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Works., Steevens., 1802.]


London: -: Printed By W. Bulmer And Co. Shakspeare Printing-Office, For John And Josiah Boydell, George And W. Nicol: From The Types Of W. Martin., MDCCCII.

Physical Description

9 vols.; 425 mm.

General Note

Vol. I: [12], 86, [2], [4], 86, [4], 106, [6], 108 p., [13] pl. - Vol. II: [8], 72, [4], 98, [6], 103, [1], [4], 84 p., [11] pl. - Vol. III: [8], 100, [4], 105, [1], [4], 104, [4], 112 p., [10] pl. - Vol. IV: [8], 98, [6], 122, [6], 98, [4], 103, [1] p., [11] pl. - Vol. V: [8], 112, [4], 114, [4], 123, [1], [4], 128 p., [8] pl. - Vol. VI: [8], 112, [4], 127, [1], [4], 120, [4], 143, [1] p., [12] pl. - Vol. VII: [10], 124, [2], [4], 144, [4], 102, [4], 146 p., [10] pl. - Vol. VIII: [8], 99, [1], [4], 101, [1], [6], 135, [1], [4], 141, [1] p., [9] pl. - Vol. IX: [6], 135, [1], [4], 122, [6], 152, [4], 134 p., [12] pl.


Vol. I: [2 frontiss., half-t., t.p., dedic.] - Advertisement (by G.N.) - [Divisional t.p., 'Tempest'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, and 3 pl.] - Epilogue; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Two Gentlemen Of Verona'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 1 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Merry Wives Of Windsor'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 5 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Measure For Measure'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.];[colophon]. - Vol. II: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'Comedy Of Errors'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Much Ado About Nothing'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 5 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Love's Labour's Lost'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. III: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'Merchant Of Venice'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'As You Like It'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 4 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'The Taming Of The Shrew'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div.t.p., 'All's Well That Ends Well'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. IV: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'Twelfth Night'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Winter's Tale'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Macbeth'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'King John'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. V: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'King Richard II'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'First Part Of K. Henrty IV'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Second Part Of K. Henry IV'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'King Henry V'] - Persond Of The Drama - [Text, 1 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. VI: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'First Part Of King Henry VI'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 4 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Second Part Of K. Henry VI'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Third Part Of K. Henry VI'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Richard III'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. VII: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'King Henry VIII'] - Persons Of The Drama - Prologue - [Text, 4 pl.] - Epilogue; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Coriolanus'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Julius Caesar'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Antony And Cleopatra'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. VIII: [Half-t., t.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'Timon Of Athens'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Titus Andronicus'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Troilus And Cressida'] - Prologue - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 [l.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Cymbeline'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon]. - Vol. IX: [T.p.] - [Div. t.p., 'King Lear'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 3 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Romeo And Juliet'] - Prologue - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 5 pl.]; [colophon] - [Blank leaf] - [Div. t.p., 'Hamlet'] - Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon] - [Div. t.p., 'Othello'] - [Persons Of The Drama - [Text, 2 pl.]; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

The first plate in Volume is signed by the draughtsman, Josh. Boydell, and the engraver, J. Neagle. All other plates are signed by their respective source artists, and by their engravers, James Stow, James Parker, W.C. Wilson, Anker Smith, Jas. Osborne, M. Haughton, I. Saunders, Thomas Holloway, W. Sharpe, J. Neagle, Jas. Heath, George Noble, Milton & Testolini, James Fittler, W. Skelton, L. Schiavonetti, S. Middiman, Isaac Taylor Junr., F. Legat, James Caldwall, W. Angus, F. Bartolozzi, Joseph Collyer, J. Ogborne, Andrew Gray, B. Reading, Willm. Leney, S. Noble, Charles Warren, R. Rhodes, J. Hogg, J.P. Simon, Andrew Michel.

Each plate carries the publishers' imprint of J. & J. Boydell, and (except pl. [1] of Vol. I) the date.

The name of the printers, W. Bulmer & Co., is repeated in the colophons.

The publication is dedicated by John Boydell, Josiah Boydell and George Nicol to the King (George III).


W. Pope and F. Benwick, ed., The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery (1996); S.H.A. Bruntjen, John Boydell, 1719-1804: A Study of Art Patronage and Publishing in Georgian London (1985); W.H. Friedman, Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery (1976); L. Thompson, 'The Boydell Shakespeare: an English monument to Graphic Arts', in Princeton University Library Chronicle, 1:2 (1940), p.17-24; G.H. Danton, Tieck's Essay on the Boydell Shakspeare Gallery (1912); A. Graves, 'Boydell and his engravers', in The Queen, 116-117 (1904 July 30 - 1905 July 5), p.178-9.

Surveys of Shakespeare illustration include S. Sillars, Painting Shakespeare The Artist As Critic 1720-1820 (2006); H. Hammerschmidt-Hummel, Die Shakespeare-Illustration (1594-2000), 3 v. (2003).

On the printer William Bulmer see: P. Isaac, William Bulmer: the fine printer in context, 1757-1830 (1993); H.V. Marrot, William Bulmer, Thomas Bensley: a study in transition (1930).

A study of the editor was A. Sherbo, The achievement of George Steevens (1990).

Summary Note

A publication-date of 1802 is given on all title-pages; but a publication date of June 4 1803 is given in the dedication of Volume I, the eleventh plate of Volume IV, the first and ninth plates of Volume VII and the second plate of Volume VIII. All plates except the first in Volume I carry publication-dates: (Vol. I) 1792 Sep 25; 1793 Dec 24, 25; 1797 Sep 29; 1798 Apr 23, Dec 1; 1800 Jun 4; 1801 Jun 4; (Vol. II) 1791 Mar 1; 1793 Jun 4; 1795 Jun 4; 1796 Sep 29; 1798 Apr 23; 1799 Sep 29; (Vol. III) 1791 Sep 29; 1792 Sep 29; 1794 Jun 4; 1795 Dec 1; 1796 Jun 4; 1797 Sep 1; 1798 Apr 23; (Vol. IV) 1793 Jun 4, Dec 24; 1794 Jun 4; 1795 Jan 1; 1796 Sep 29; 1798 Dec 1; 1799 Aug 1, Sep 29; 1803 Jun 4; (Vol. V) 1794 Jun 4; 1795 Jan 1, Jun 4; 1798 Dec 1; 1800 Jun 4; (Vol. VI) 1791 Mar 1; 1795 Jan 1, Mar 25, Dec 1; 1798 Apr 23; 1799 Mar 25, Sep 29; 1800 Jun 4; 1801 Jun 4; (Vol. VII) 1796 Jun 1, Sep 29; 1801 Jun 4; 1802 Dec 21; 1803 Jun 4; (Vol. VIII) 1792 Dec 25; 1793 Dec 24; 1795 Jan 1, Sep 29; 1796 Jun 4; 1800 Jun 4; 1802 Dec 21; 1803 Jun 4; (Vol. IX) 1792 Jan 2, Feb 1, Feb 2, Oct 6; 1797 Jun 4, Sep 29; 1798 Apr 23; 1800 Jun 4; 1801 Jun 4.

In each volume each play has its own pagination, divisional title page and colophon.

In his Advertisement one of the publishers, George Nicol, writes: '... One Hundred and Sixty-three Historical Pictures, many of them of a large size, have been painted by British Artists, on purpose to adorn this work; but of this part of the undertaking, a more particular account will be given in the Advertisement prefixed to the large Prints ... Splendour and magnificence, united with correctness of text, were the great objects of this Edition ... it was found necessary to establish a printing-house on purpose to print the work; a foundery to cast the types; and even a manufactory to make the ink.' He adds that in preparing the text Steevens was assisted by Dr Farmer and Isaac Reed. The project to publish a magnificent edition of Shakespeare, illustrated with engravings from specially-commissioned paintings, was first advertised in December 1786; and thirty-four commissioned paintings went on show in May 1789. When the first prints came out in 1792 they were not well received; but the letterpress text, composed by William Bulmer from the Roman and Italic types of William Martin (who may at one time have worked for Baskerville), is a most distinguished piece of printing.

All plates are captioned. The first two in Volume I show 'Shakspeare's Monument In The Church At Stratford Upon Avon' (source-artist not named) and 'The Alto Rilievo In The Front Of The Shakspeare Gallery Pall Mall. Represents Shakspeare seated between the Dramatic Muse & the Genius of Painting ...' (after 'I. Banks', i.e. T. Banks). All other plates show scenes from the plays, after various painters:

Vol. I. 'Tempest' by W. Hamilton, R. Smirke; 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' by T. Stothard; 'Merry Wives of Windsor' by R. Smirke, W. Peters; 'Measure for Measure' by R. Smirke;

Vol. II. 'Comedy of Errors' by F.Wheatley; 'Much Ado About Nothing' by W. Peters, F. Wheatley, W. Hamilton, R. Smirke; 'Love's Labour's Lost' by F. Wheatley; 'Midsummer Night's Dream' by H. Fuseli, J. Reynolds;

Vol. III. 'Merchant Of Venice' by R. Westall; 'As You Like It' by W. Hodges, R. Smirke, W. Hamilton; 'The Taming Of The Shrew' by I.I. Ibbetson (i.e. J.C. Ibbetson); 'All's Well That Ends Well' by F. Wheatley;

Vol. IV: 'Twelfth Night' by W. Hamilton; 'Winter's Tale' by W. Hamilton; 'Macbeth' by R. Westall; 'King John' by R. Westall, R.K. Porter;

Vol. V: 'King Richard II' by W. Hamilton; 'Henry IV Parts I, II' by R. Smirke; 'Henry V' by R. Westall;

Vol. VI: 'Henry VI Pt.1' by Josh. Boydell, W. Hamilton, Jas. Northcote; 'Henry VI Pt.2' by W. Hamilton, J. Reynolds; 'Henry VI Pt. 3' by W. Hamilton; 'Richard III' by J. Northcote, R. Westall;

Vol. VII: 'Henry VIII' by T. Stothard, R. Westall; 'Coriolanus' by R.K. Porter; 'Julius Caesar' by R. Westall; 'Antony and Cleopatra' by H. Tresham;

Vol. VIII: 'Timon Of Athens' by H. Howard; 'Titus Andronicus' by S. Woodforde, T. Kirk; 'Troilus and Cressida' by T. Kirk; 'Cymbeline' by R. Westall (the third being signed as by 'Rob. Westall');

Vol. IX: 'King Lear' by R. Smirke; 'Romeo and Juliet' by W. Miller, R. Smirke, I.F. Rigaud, J. Opie, J. Northcote; 'Hamlet' by R. Westall; 'Othello' by R.K. Porter, Josiah Boydell.

In 1803 the Boydells published their Collection of Prints from Pictures painted for the Purpose of Illustrating the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, a two-volume large-paper edition of one hundred prints without text (almost all these prints are different from those reproduced in the small-papaer edition with text). And in 1805 Josiah Boydell published Boydell's Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, which contains the smaller prints without text (this has an engraving by William Blake of Opie's illustration to 'Romeo and Juliet', in addition to that engraved by J.P. Simon).

A manuscript list of the subscribers to the Boydell Shakespeare is preserved in the Boston Public Library.


Binding Note

19th-century calf, upper and lower covers having gilt-stamped neoclassical borders; rebacked in 20th century, gilt-decorated spines, lettered 'Shakspeare Tempest [&c.] Vol. I (- IX)', 'R.A.', 'Boydell 1802' and 'Proofs'.


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Illustrated books, British - Pictorial works - Typography - Great Britain - 19th century


John Boydell, publisher
George Steevens, 1736-1800,, editor
Josiah Boydell, publisher, source artist
Robert Smirke RA, source artist
William Hamilton RA, source artist
Richard Westall RA, source artist
William Martin, type designer
William Bulmer, printer
George Nicol, publisher
William Nicol, publisher
George III King of Great Britain, dedicatee
Thomas Stothard RA, source artist
Revd Matthew William Peters RA, source artist
Francis Wheatley RA, source artist
Henry Fuseli RA, source artist
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, source artist
William Hodges RA, source artist
Sir Robert Ker Porter, source artist
James Northcote RA, source artist
Henry Tresham RA, source artist
Henry Howard RA, source artist
Samuel Woodforde RA, source artist
Thomas Kirk, source artist
William Miller, source artist
John Francis Rigaud RA, source artist
John Opie RA, source artist
James Neagle, engraver
James Stow, engraver
James Parker, engraver
W.C. Wilson, engraver
Anker Smith ARA, engraver
James Osborne, engraver
Joseph Saunders, engraver
Thomas Holloway, engraver
James Heath ARA, engraver
George Noble, engraver
Gaetano Testolini, engraver
James Fittler ARA, engraver
William Skelton, engraver
Luigi Schiavonetti, engraver
Samuel Middiman, engraver
Isaac Taylor the younger, engraver
Francis Legat, engraver
James Caldwall, engraver
William Angus, engraver
Francesco Bartolozzi RA, engraver
Joseph Collyer ARA, engraver
John Ogborne, engraver
Andrew Gray, engraver
Burnet Reading, engraver
William Satchwell Leney, engraver
Samuel Noble, engraver
Charles Warren, engraver
Richard Rhodes, engraver
James Hogg, engraver
John Peter Simon, engraver
Andrew Michel, engraver
Thomas Banks RA, source artist
Julius Caesar Ibbetson the Elder, source artist
William Sharpe, engraver