First Folio. Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies Published 1623 image courtesy of The British Library, London
Shakespeare’s genius was not full appreciated until after his death in 1616. Seven years later, two of his fellow actors and closest friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, decided to produce an authoritative collection of 36 of his plays. They undertook the work of editing the text and supervising the printing by Isaac Jaggard and Edward. This was the First Folio. Only half of Shakespeare’s plays had been published previously, all in smaller format and some poorly edited. The engraved title page shows Martin Droeshout’s now famous portrait of Shakespeare.
Having been managers in Shakespeare’s company, Heminge and Condell had privileged access to his hand-written scripts and other sources, such as the company’s prompt-books. At last, readers would have the plays as they were actually performed. They divided the plays into Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, and this is how they have been thought of ever since.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-862: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)