London: Printed by William Stansby [and] Printed for Richard Meighen, 1616, -1640 (ie. 1641). First edition. First folio edition and first collected edition. Three folio volumes, bound in two (Volume II divided into four parts, originally issued in two volumes). (11 1/8 x 6 7/8 inches; 281 x 173 mm): , 1015, [1, blank]; , 88, 75, , , 93-170; 159, [1, blank]; 79, 70-122, 133-155, [1, blank]; , 163-292; 132 pp. Volume I with engraved allegorical title by William Hole (Pforzheimer state B, and according to Pforzheimer this is the rarest of the states). Volume I with the rare initial blank. Decorative woodcut head-and tail pieces and initials. In volume I, page 1013-1014 is bound out of order between page 1010 and 1011. This set is complete and collates according to Pforzheimer.
Volume I- In this copy, the section title to Every Man out of His Humour (p. ) is the state without a woodcut border, and without Iohn Smithwicke;" with dedication leaf (G2), signed, with "By your honorer, Ben Jonson," (same as Pforzheimerr) the section title to Cynthias Revels (p. ) is the second state without the woodcut border and has the imprint: "LONDON, Printed by WILLIAM STANSBY. MDCXVI." The section title to Poëtaster (p. ) is the first state within the woodcut border and has the imprint: "Printed by W. Stansby, for M. Lownes. 1616."
Volume II- Issue D, with the 1640 general title-page, the first three plays with the imprint dated 1631 (same as Pforzheimer). The end of Mortimer reads: "Hee dyed, and left it unfinished".
Both volumes uniformly bound in 17th-century full mottled calf. Rebacked to style in the 19th-century. Boards ruled in blind. A bit of light wear to spines and edges. Edges speckled red. Newer endpapers. Small rust hole, not affecting text to top margin of signature A of volume I, and a minor stain to signature Oo. Page 525 of volume I with a stain and small hole, not affecting text. Volume I, leaves Ppp2 and GGGG with small rust holes, just barely affecting text. In volume II, the general title-page with minor early ink ownership notes. Leaf D3, of Horace with a small rust hole. Occasional light toning to pages. It is unusual to find these books uniformly bound in a contemporary binding, because of the long delay in publication between the two volumes. Overall a very pleasing set.
"This book... is a handsome specimen of typography. It reflects great credit upon its printer, Stansby, who was an apprentice and then successor to John Windet, and himself a master printer. Such work entitles him to a front rank among the printers of the reign of James I. Jonson is said to have prepared the plays for the press, himself, and one or two matters of editing... certainly appear to show the author's hand. At the end of each play, for instance, is a statement telling when it was first acted, and by whom, whether the king's or the queen's servants. The names of the actors are also given... All of the works not included in the first were intended for a second volume, which, however, did not appear until after Jonson's death, in 1640" (Grolier, 100 English).
Grolier, 100 English, 17. Pforzheimer 559. Pforzheimer 560. STC 14751. (Item #1611)
Out of stock