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Original Art for the Hanmer Edition

The fourth of the eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare's works, Sir Thomas Hanmer's 1744 edition in six volumes, is remembered today not for its editorial choices, but for its Shakespearean illustrations, some of the most effective and original to that date. For each play, Hanmer commissioned a drawing by the artist Francis Hayman that was then engraved by Hubert Gravelot.


These matched images from Measure for Measure are from a unique copy of the Hanmer edition held at the Folger, in which the original watercolor drawings have been inserted near the corresponding engravings. The handwritten contract between Hayman and Hanmer is bound into the first volume of the set.


Although Hayman did not base his drawings on actual stage productions, he set them in a theatrical space. In the climactic confrontation shown here, the tyrannical Angelo, left in charge of Vienna by its duke, faces the returned duke, who has just removed his disguise as a friar. Angelo's victims, including the lovely Isabella, look on.


Hubert Fran├žois Gravelot after Francis Hayman. Measure for Measure. Engraving, ca. 1740-41.

Shakespeare. The works of Shakespear. Oxford, 1743-1744

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Infinite Variety
To find similar stories about other items from the Folger collection, look for Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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