As you like it, rare Shakespeare book to go on display in Hong Kong

Exhibition of First Folio at Sotheby’s will mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2016, 10:43am

A centuries-old copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio will go on ­display at Sotheby’s gallery to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death.

The four-day exhibition, from October 26, will be held at One Pacific Place in Admiralty. The book, which is on loan from the Eton College Collections, is said to be one of only 235 original surviving copies.

Eton College, a British boarding school for boys, and Heywood Hill, an independent London ­global bookshop, are co-organisers of the event.

Charlotte Merritt from Heywood Hill said First Folio is important because “it is credited as being the book that gave us Shakespeare”.

“It contained 18 Shakespeare plays that had never been printed before, including Macbeth and The Tempest.”

It also contains other seminal plays such as Twelfth Night, ­Measure for Measure and Julius Caesar.

Merritt said a First Folio was last shown in China by Sotheby’s Beijing in 2006.

The exhibition will also feature pictures, photographs and three Shakespeare quartos highlighting a comedy, a tragedy and a history play.

Nicky Dunne, chairman of Heywood Hill, said the success of a Magna Carta exhibition was the inspiration behind the First Folio event.

The Magna Carta, an 800-year-old common law charter, was displayed last year in Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

“About 5,000 people showed up for the Magna Carta exhibition in Hong Kong,” Dunne said. “We believe there is a strong appetite for literary artefacts here.”

First Folio was published by two of Shakespeare’s friends ­seven years after his death in 1616. Half of the plays in the book had never been printed before.

Esther Blythe, the British deputy consul general to Hong Kong and Macau, said activities ­celebrating Shakespeare were taking place worldwide.

“These activities remind us that Shakespeare lives in his works, which remain as entertaining and meaningful as they were 400 years ago, and in his unique legacy to the English language,” she said.