Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shakespeare's First Folio the Most Precious Book in the World

This week Raymond Scott an antiques dealer has been found guilty of handling a stolen First Folio of Shakespeare and will probably go to jail for the offense.The folio is described as part of England's cultural legacy and on the open market is worth roughly £1 million pounds so it is very 'special' in more ways than one.

One of my passions is books, especially leather bound books and I am so fortunate to live in Auckland, City of Sails. Auckland may not have a lot going for it when it comes to owning rare works of art but it does have five objects that are priceless and well worth a visit if you are in this glorious city.

The first four are the Four Folios of Shakespeare, Auckland City Libraries has the lot and if you ask nicely they will get them out for you. The thrill of actually handling the original folio of these masterpieces of English nee world literature is beyond description.

The introduction for my DVD The Leather Bound Book starring Peter Goodwin who used to be the bindery manager in the days when libraries had bookbinders was filmed using all four copies. There on the table were the first four folios laid out in order. What a privilege. I even had my photo taken to remind myself it was not a dream!

Years ago I had the same privilege in the Royal Society where the young librarian had given me a similar opportunity with Newton's Principia Mathmatica. He took me into the meeting room of the Royal Society, unlocked the gold meshed libary doors and placed the priceless volume on the table for me to see and touch. 
It was a tremendous honor of which I was totally unaware as having no science education at all I hardly knew who Newton or his theory of gravity was let alone the importance of this book. I do now and I am so grateful to that librarian.

Thanks to the Brittle Book Syndrome Bookbinders are no longer needed. Every book printed on acid wood pulp will turn to dust before long but fortunately The Folios and Principia were printed on linen paper and will last forever if kept dry. They will need rebinding if a binder can be found!

Oh the last Auckland treasure in in the Art Gallery which is lucky enough to possess a little Gaudia Breska. Benjamin Britten had a Breska in his L shaped drawing room but Auckland has a little statuette which is so beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment