From the Personal Library of Herbert John Gladstone[William Shakespeare]. Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke [editors]. The Works of William Shakespeare. London: Bickers & Son, et al., 1869.
First edition, thus. Four octavo volumes. [lii], 725; 730; 700; and 747 pages. With engraved portrait of Shakespeare as frontispiece in volume one. From the personal library of Herbert John Gladstone, with his personal bookplate on the front pastedown of each volume and personal ink stamp on the second front free endpaper of each volume.
Half red morocco over red morocco-grained cloth. Titles stamped in gilt on the spine with additional rules and decoration in gilt on the spine and boards. Six compartments between five raised bands on the spine. Light shelf wear and soiling to boards with some rubbing at the spine ends and corners. Joints tender. All edges marbled and marbled endpapers. Pages lightly toned with some penciled marginalia throughout, in Gladstone's hand perhaps? A most attractive set in very good condition.
Herbert John Gladstone (1854-1930) was the youngest son of English Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. The younger Gladstone, later Viscount Gladstone, held many high offices including Home Secretary, First Commissioner of Works, and Governor-General of South Africa. This set was presented to Gladstone by his brother Henry Neville Gladstone as evidenced by the inscription on the second front free endpaper of volume one: "To/ Herbert John Gladstone/ for Jan. 7, 1874/ from/ HNG". Laid-in to volume one is a two page autograph quote, unsigned in pencil on Governor-Generals Office, Pretoria letterhead with several quotes from Shakespeare. Also laid-in is a small autograph note on blue paper, in ink with intriguing and largely indecipherable content.
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