William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616) wrote some of the most famous plays in English. He created words and characters that still live on today.
During his lifetime, only 17 of his plays were printed, in cheap throwaway formats. Seven years after his death, his friends John Heminge and Henry Condell brought together 36 of his plays in a large, impressive book. The word 'folio' describes its size. In doing so, they were saying that Shakespeare was an important author whose writing deserved to be remembered. But they also wanted people to read and enjoy his work.
Without this book, 'Macbeth', 'Twelfth Night' and many other great plays would have been lost forever. This is the 'First' Folio because it was the first of four folio editions that appeared in the 17th century.
This copy of the First Folio has been in Scotland for at least 230 years. In the 18th century it was owned by a Miss Clarke of Dunbar.
[Library reference: F.7.e.20]