London: John Bell [and] John Cawthorn, 1784-1807. [Shakespeare] JOHN BELL EDITION, later printings, mixed issue. 36 of 38 volumes. Duodecimo in half-sheets (16 x 10cm). Most volumes dated 1788 or 1803, with just a few intersectional exceptions. All volumes with two engraved title pages of varying dates ranging from 1784 to 1807, the later ones being printed for John Cawthorn, all with tissue guards. Contemporary quarter pigskin with gilt titles to spines and marbled paper over boards. Quite heavy rubbing and bumping. Eight volumes with some chipping or loss to spine head / tail. Most volumes heavily soiled to spine. Very good. A rare collection. A complex set of books made up from mixed printings of this important early 'cheap' edition, first published in 1774. Missing 'Two Noble Kinsmen' and 'The Merchant of Venice' ('Pericles' and 'Edward III' not then being considered canon). John Bell was a seminal figure in British printing and typography, responsible for dropping the long S, and for developing new popular typefaces. Item #57101
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