The Plays. From the corrected text of Johnson and Steevens. Embellished with plates - William Shakespeare 1807 - John Stockdale, London - First Heath Edition This is how Shakespeare should be read! Six magnificently large quarto volumes of Shakespeare’s plays, with twenty two copperplates engraved by James Heath after Thomas Stothard, William Hamilton and Henry Fuseli.

Volume I – Midsummer Night’s Dream; Taming of the Shrew; Merry Wives of Windsor; Much Ado about Nothing; All’s well that ends well; Measure for Measure.
Volume II – Winter’s Tale; Two Gentlemen of Verona; Hamlet; Romeo and Juliet; Richard II; Richard III.
Volume III – Comedy of Errors; Macbeth; Henry VI; As you like it.
Volume IV – Tempest; Twelfth Night; Henry VIII; Julius Caesar; Timon of Athens; Coriolanus.
Volume V – Love’s Labour’s lost; King John; King Lear; Troilus and Cressida; Titus Andronicus; Othello.
Volume VI – Merchant of Venice; Henry IV; Henry V; Antony and Cleopatra; Cymebline; Pericles.

The engraver James Heath (1757–1834) was the London-born son of a bookbinder. The family originated in Nottingham where James Heath’s grandfather Joseph Heath was a bookseller and writing-master. James was apprenticed to the engraver Joseph Collyer the younger in 1771 and became established as one of the leading line engravers of his time. His first major success was in engraving plates for Bell’s edition of The Poets of Great Britain. He was employed by the Robinson family of booksellers from 1779 to 1804. He became one of the most widely employed engravers of the age, producing illustrations for many celebrated works including Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy; Vancouver’s A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean, and round the world; Bruce’s Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile; and the frontispiece portrait to Boswell’s Life of Johnson. He engraved some plates for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, and in 1807 published this six-volume set of Shakespeare illustrated with engravings after works by Stothard and Henry Fuseli on his own account, a substantial demonstration of his huge popularity.
  Provenance: From the library of Merseyside industrialist James McBryde, with his bookplate to each front pastedown. McBryde, who was originally from Scotland, owned an alkali factory in St Helens in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Quarto, six volumes (binding size 35x29.2cm), pp. [4] 96, 119 [1] 122, 114, 131 [1] 124 [2]; [4] 139 [1] 100, 174, 138, 128, 168 [2]; [4] 82, 109 [1] 127 [1] 145 [1] 141 [1] 120 [2]; [4] 100, 110, 147 [1] 116, 112, 167 [3]; [4] 120, 115 [1] 158 [2] 158, 116, 154 [2]; [4] 116, 135 [1] 143 [1] 145 [1] 163 [1] 167 [1] 116 [2].
  Late nineteenth century brown half morocco over light brown cloth, spines in compartments lettered in gilt, raised bands ruled in gilt and black, marbled endpapers, edges untrimmed.   Condition: Near fine, spines lightly faded, occasional light spotting to contents, a few frontispieces and titles a little dust-soiled, frontispiece to Volume 5 slightly creased and with tiny repair on the recto   Ref: 108464   Price: HK$ 35,000