The Birds and Beasts of Shakespeare



Easthampton, Massachusetts: Cheloniidae Press, 1990.

Number V of 5 artist’s proof copies (total edition 155 copies) with two original watercolours signed by Alan James Robinson bound-in at the front. Presented in a specially designed binding and drop-back box. Text by Arthur F. Kinney. Illustrated with 54 wood engravings by Alan James Robinson and signed by him on the Colophon. Printed in maroon and black by Harold P. McGrath on Cheloniidae Rag paper with the first use of the Cheloniidae watermark. Folio. 16 X 10.5 ins. (the size of the first folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays) iv, 87 French-fold pages + Colophon. Backed in black morocco with rust-coloured chamois paper covered boards with transfer prints of birds and beasts and with a version of the Shakespeare family coat of arms on upper cover: an interpretive fine binding by Daniel E. Kelm, Easthampton, Massachusetts. Endpapers repeat board coverings. Fore-edge uncut. 54 wood engravings by Alan James Robinson as well as two portraits of Shakespeare, one an etching, one a wood engraving. The wood engravings have been cut on end-grain English boxwood from T.N. Lawrence & Sons, London. The text, by Shakespeare scholar Arthur F. Kinney, author of the “Oxford Handbook on Shakespeare”, examines the playwright’s use of birds and beasts in his plays to describe the natural world and the nature of humankind. Kinney also provides the literary antecedents of these birds and beasts as well as interesting biographical information on Shakespeare and his family. An ambitious and lavish production to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the Cheloniidae Press. Housed in a special drop-back box lined with a repeat of the rust-coloured chamois paper. Paper title label on spine. A fine copy of this scarce and spectacularly presented volume.

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