A rarely seen 17th century book of Shakespeare’s works belonging to Canterbury Cathedral is to go on special display to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
The second folio, containing 36 of the 38 plays attributed to Shakespeare, was printed in 1632 and will be on display in the Cathedral Crypt from Wednesday (6 April 2016) for a month.
The second folio cost £1 which, when it was printed, was more than two weeks’ wages for a craftsman. It is a large book and it is believed that it was intended for display rather than personal use and it followed the first folio printed in 1623 by friends and colleagues of Shakespeare as a memorial to the bard.
Collections Manager Sarah Turner said: “Investigations into the Cathedral’s copy of the second folio have revealed that whilst the majority of pages are from the 1632 edition, the frontispiece had been lost. During the 18th century the book was restored and a frontispiece from a 1685 edition was added.”
For more about the second folio go to Picture This.
This year the Crypt Treasury has been used to display the ancient crozier head, which had been loaned to the Cathedral, when Primates from all the over the world gathered and met in Canterbury in January. The ivory head of the pastoral staff is believed to be that of St Gregory who sent Augustine to England in 597 AD.
After the crozier was returned to Rome, a small teddy bear that had escaped Nazi persecution with its ten-year-old owner in 1938 was the centre piece as part of a Kindertransport exhibition and last month the 12th century ornate silver chalice and paten belonging to former Archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter were on display.
The Crypt is open for visiting from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and from 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Sunday. Always check the website for notice of occasional closures for special services and community events.