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Extending the Book
The Dyce-Hoe Shakespeare

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The Dyce-Hoe Shakespeare

  As the practice of extra-illustration developed, compilers included a wider range of materials. Historical figures suggested by Granger were still popular, but they were matched by illustration of characters and visual comments on the plays’ language. Extra-illustrators also began to include original watercolors and rare engravings, both to enrich the reading experience and to display the collector’s good taste and material wealth. Examples shown here are from a six-volume set of Shakespeare, edited by the Reverend Alexander Dyce (1798–1869), that was expanded to twenty-one volumes by New York bibliophile Robert Hoe Jr. (1839–1909). Unsatisfied with the quality of American book binding, Hoe’s preferred binders were English and French. This set went to England for binding by Francis Bedford (1799–1883).

Shakespeare. Works of William Shakespeare. London: Edward Moxon, 1857

The image shown above is a watercolor by Edward Edwards, and is the original design for the frontispiece to The Tempest in John Bell’s 1773–4 edition. This watercolor is immediately followed in the next page opening by the actual engraving of the same image. This sequence demonstrates another aim of the extra-illustrator: the bringing together of all possible forms of the same image. Unlike the published version, the watercolor appears close to the action it depicts. In changing its location, the extra-illustrator has altered the experience of reading the play.


The image at the top right of the screen, from Shakespeare's Works, shows a page opening in Henry V  and demonstrates a new tendency in extra-illustration: the inclusion of an image that makes visible the play’s imaginative language. Here, an engraving of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise illustrates the banishment of “the offending Adam” Prince Hal’s riotous younger nature when he becomes King.


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Shakespeare. Works of William Shakespeare. London: Edward Moxon, 1857

Shakespeare. The Works of William Shakespeare... revised by... the Rev. Alexander Dyce. London: Edward Moxon, 1857

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