The Letterpress Othello

William Shakespeare

Limited to 3,750 hand-numbered copies

The sheer visceral strength of this great tragedy has resonated through the centuries, ensuring it remains one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

£295.00
£295.00

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on

  1. Act 3, Sc.3

Shakespeare’s explosive tale of love, jealousy and betrayal follows the triumphs and eventual downfall of the noble General Othello – his love for Desdemona, his trust in the villainous Iago and his obsessive jealousy that leads to murder. The sheer visceral strength of this great tragedy has resonated through the centuries, ensuring it remains one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

As part of The Folio Society’ Letterpress Shakespeare limited edition series, Othello’s powerful verse has been hand-set on luxurious mould-made paper, beautifully bound in leather and hand-marbled paper.

Letterpress volume

Limited to 3,750 hand-numbered copies

Hand-bound in goatskin leather, blocked in gold with hand-marbled paper sides

Gilded top edge, ribbon marker

16pt ‘Monotype’ Baskerville, with Caslon display

Set in hot metal and printed letterpress on mould-made paper

Oxford University Press text under General Editor Stanley Wells

14˝ x 10¾˝

Commentary volume

This includes the text of the play with full explanatory notes

Bound in buckram

8¾˝ x 5¾˝

Presentation box

Bound in buckram

15˝ x 11˝ x 2¾˝

Since the First Folio in 1623 there have been countless editions of Shakespeare’s works. The Folio Society wanted to do something unprecedented: to design an edition so pure, so simple, that the beauty of the text could be fully appreciated - an edition that would be as timeless as the text itself.

What would the ideal version of Shakespeare’s works look like? What would result if simplicity and elegance were the goal rather than the dictates of fashion and cost efficiency?

These were the questions we asked ourselves when we embarked on our Letterpress Shakespeare series in 2006. The project was to occupy some of Europe’s finest book designers, typesetters, paper-makers, printers and bindersfor eight years.

The starting point was the text. Rather than keep text and commentary together, we decided to put them into separate volumes. Out went the elements that clutter the page : footnotes and textual variants. All that was left was Shakespeare’s words.

We decided to have the text printed by letterpress in 16-point Baskerville. The type is set in hot metal and impressed on thick, mouldmade paper. The margins are generous - over 6 centimetres - to allow the words room to breathe.

The result is a simple, understated design that is a delight to read and a pleasure to hold.

Stan Lane, a master Typesetter and Printer, talked to us about the process of printing our Letterpress Shakespeare. Lane has been setting type for The Folio Society for 25 years and is one of the few craftsmen still skilled in the fine art of letterpress printing. Although labour-intensive, letterpress has a depth and elegance that modern printing cannot replicate.

Jemma Lewis talked to us about the process of hand marbling paper for the Letterpress Shakespeare. In this beautiful process droplets of oil are floated on a special solution and combed into patterns so that each sheet of paper bears a unique design.

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