Shakespeare's First Folio
22 and 23 April 2023
Hunterian Art Gallery
2023 marks the 400th birthday of The First Folio, the first printed edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays. 23 April is celebrated as Shakespeare’s birthday and this year you can celebrate by seeing Shakespeare’s First Folio for yourself at the Hunterian Art Gallery. The University of Glasgow's very special copy of the book will make a rare public appearance for one weekend only on 22 and 23 April.
As part of the Folio400 celebration, owners worldwide are being encouraged to display their copies on or around 23 April. Throughout 2023 there will be three First Folios on display across Scotland. They will be on view to the public at the University of Glasgow, the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.
The University of Glasgow’s First Folio, held in the Library’s Archives & Special Collections, recently underwent conservation work. It is a complex ‘made up’ volume, formed from combining two or three different imperfect copies to create a whole. In common with most other surviving First Folios, the book shows considerable signs of wear and use, and many of its pages are stained and dirt-engrained. This evidence of heavy use by previous owners can offer us historical insights into reading habits, and this copy is particularly important for its early annotations that were made by a reader who had evidently seen Shakespeare’s plays being acted contemporaneously.
Image: Martin Shields.
- Shakespeare's First Folio is at the Hunterian Art Gallery on 22 and 23 April 2023.
- Open 10am–5pm. Please check our Opening Hours page before you visit.
- Shakespeare's First Folio is in the Main Gallery of the Hunterian Art Gallery. The space is fully accessible via lift.
- Back to Exhibition Programme.
In Person Curator Talk
Very good or stark naught? Shakespeare’s First Folio at the University of Glasgow
Sunday 23 April 2023
Hunterian Art Gallery, free
Join Julie Gardham, Librarian in Archives & Special Collections at the University of Glasgow to find out more about this important book and its significance. Book tickets via Eventbrite.
The First Folio at the University of Glasgow
Friday 21 April 2023
2023 marks the 400th birthday of The First Folio, the first printed edition of William Shakespeare’s collected plays. The First Folio collection contains 36 plays, 18 of which were here published for the first time, thus saving such works as The Tempest and Macbeth from probable extinction. Join University of Glasgow colleagues Julie Gardham, Librarian in Archives & Special Collections and Adrian Streete, Professor of Early Modern English Literature and Religion to find out more about this important book and its significance. Book tickets via Eventbrite.
Shakespeare's First Folios Across Scotland
Friday 28 April 2023
To celebrate the 400th birthday of Shakespeare's First Folio, three copies in Scottish collections will go on public display including that of the University of Glasgow, the National Library of Scotland and Mount Stuart Trust. Join The Mount Stuart Trust’s Librarian, Elizabeth Ingham and The National Library of Scotland’s Head of Rare Books, Maps and Music, Helen Vincent and find out more about their First Folios. Book tickets via Eventbrite.