George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

A rare Shakespeare quarto: acquired in 1956

In 1956 the National Library of Scotland bought the only known quarto edition of William Shakespeare's 'Henry IV, part 2'.

The quarto text for 'The Second Part of Henrie the Fourth' was probably set up from Shakespeare's own manuscript when the Chamberlain's Men sold the play to the London printers Wise and Aspley in 1600. Pictured is the title page from the quarto edition. ('Quarto' refers to the paper size.)

This item forms part of the Bute Collection of English plays, which was brought together in the 18th century by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. She bequeathed the plays to her daughter, the wife of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. The collection was considerably enlarged by later owners.

In 1956, funded by grants from Government, the Pilgrim Trust, and the Friends of the National Libraries, the Library bought the collection from Major Michael Crichton-Stuart, Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace.

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