Bard News for University of London

Decision to sell four Shakespeare folios criticised

The University of London is hoping to raise £5million by auctioning a rare selection of Shakespeare’s works including a first folio dating from 1623.

Historic: One of the pages from the First Folio

Historic: One of the pages from the first folio

A mere 232 copies of the first press are believed to have survived to the present day, but the university has said that it’s alright to sell a copy of the first folio because they’ve got two.

Sir Brian Vickers, Shakespeare expert at UCL, declared this to be “rubbish”.

He added: “One of these copies may contain a correction that has puzzled people for many years and has never been solved.

“To sell them is an act of stupidity of the highest order.”

The Senate House Library where the copies are currently housed

The University of London’s  Senate House Library where the copies are currently housed

The four books being auctioned were gifted to the library in 1958 as part of the will of American philanthropist Sir Louis Sterling.

Dr. Peter Kirwin, one of the trustees of the British Shakespeare Association, told The Daily Mail: “My view is that the key issue here is these books were intended as a permanent gift to the university’s library, and any sale could move the books to a private collection.

“Not being made available to the public is a really serious matter.”

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