'The first edition of Shakespeare's works published in Ireland' (Jaggard)

The Works of Shakespear. In Eight Volumes. Collated and Corrected by the Former Editions, by Mr. Pope.

Dublin: Printed by and for Geo. Grierson … and for George Ewing …, 1726.

Price: $25,000.00

About the item

First Irish edition of Shakespeare. Wood-engraved head- and tailpieces and initials. Lacking subscriber's list called for in ESTC. 8 vols. 8vo. 'The first edition of Shakespeare's works published in Ireland' (Jaggard). Contemporary sprinkled calf. Expertly rebacked to style, red morocco spine labels, text exceptionally clean and crisp. Jaggard, p. 498; ESTC T63759. Provenance: John Congreve (1801-1863, armorial bookplate in each volume).

Item #306048

A rare complete set of the first edition of Shakespeare’s works printed in Ireland. Published in 8 volumes by George Grierson and George Ewing, this piracy reprints Pope’s 6-volume 4to edition of 1725, including Rowe’s Life and the Index of the Characters, Sentiments, Speeches and Descriptions. It also includes the text of Sewell’s supplementary volume 7 — volume 8 in this edition. Jaggard notes that the edition "appears to have met with poor encouragement, only 162 subscribers offering the needful support."

This was not Grierson and Ewing's first attempt to print Shakespeare in Ireland. Grierson's 1721 edition of Hamlet is believed to be the first printing of any Shakespeare work in Ireland; Grierson also printed editions of Othello and Julius Caesar that year. In 1723 Ewing issued an edition of Macbeth.

All early Irish editions of Shakespeare are rare. We find no complete copies of this set at auction on ABPC or Rare Book Hub and fewer than 20 copies in institutions. The Eccles copy of the 1723 Macbeth brought over $31,000 in 2004.

With Irish provenance from the library of Mount Congreve, County Waterford.