National Edition of Shakespeare's Works
Signed in the bottom left hand corner on the obverse. M.B. Soho. Matthew Boulton, Soho Manufactory.
John Boydell (1719-1804) was the leading print publisher of his time. In 1789 he opened the Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall, a collection of newly commissioned paintings of Shakespearean subjects by many of the most famous British artists of the day. Many of these were contained in the nine folio volumes published in 1802, a work which established him as one of the leading patrons of British art at the time. However, the French Wars hit the export market hard and the gallery was forced to be sold by lottery.
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