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Original art for the Hanmer edition of Shakespeare's works

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.

Francis Hayman. Act 5, scene 4 from Measure for Measure. Drawing for Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition of The Works of William Shakespeare, ca. 1740–41.
Francis Hayman. Act 5, scene 4 from Measure for Measure. Drawing for Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition of The Works of William Shakespeare, ca. 1740–41.
Hubert François Gravelot. Act 5, scene 4 from Measure for Measure. Engraving after the drawing by Francis Hayman for Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition of The Works of William Shakespeare, ca. 1740–41.
Hubert François Gravelot. Act 5, scene 4 from Measure for Measure. Engraving after the drawing by Francis Hayman for Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition of The Works of William Shakespeare, ca. 1740–41.

The fourth edited collection of Shakespeare’s works in the 18th century, Sir Thomas Hanmer’s 1744 edition in six volumes, is remembered today 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.

See catalog record for the engraving

See catalog record for the Hanmer edition (ART Vol. b72)

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Drawn by Hayman, etched by Gravelot, preserved in Folger ART Vol. b72
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Drawn by Hayman, etched by Gravelot, preserved in Folger ART Vol. b72

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Erin Blake

For the June 2019 “Crocodile Mystery” we asked you to spot the differences between these two pictures: Frontispiece illustration for Two Gentlemen of Verona from Thomas Hanmer’s 6-volume edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published 1743-44: original drawing (A) and published print…