New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1910. First Thus. Signed limited edition, this being 291 of 350 with Thomson's signature on the limitation page. Original vellum binding with gilt to front board and spine; ribbon ties still present. Top edge gilt. Light soiling to boards and spine; bottom corners gently bumped. Hinges previously repaired with Japanese paper, slightly foxed; tender but overall holding well. Internally a clean and pleasing copy, featuring 39 beautiful colored plates by famed illustrator Hugh Thomson.
Thomson, famed at the turn of the century for illustrating works by luminaries including Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, provides his lovely renderings of Falstaff's comedic adventures. First published in 1602, The Merry Wives of Windsor was Shakespeare's response to public calls that he create a play casting the humorous history-play figure Falstaff as its protagonist. Here, rather than serving as the slapstick and bawdy companion to Prince Hal, he takes center stage in a comedic structure, pursuing two wealthy married women in an attempt to alleviate his own penury. Thomson's gorgeously colored illustrations capture the humor of Shakespeare's play in a lovely, late-Pre-Raphaelite style. Very Good + (Item #3138)