Top 5 Folger Finds of 2020

Revisit the bright spots of 2020 by taking a look at some of our most popular #FolgerFinds posts on Instagram from the past year. Search #FolgerFinds on Instagram or Twitter for more images from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection.

1. Beautiful Shakespeare binding

We have a number of richly bound copies of Shakespeare’s works in the Folger collection. This one, with its striking green and gold, dates to the 1870s.

2. The Tempest costume design

The Folger collection is full of costume designs from past productions of Shakespeare’s plays. This rendering is by theatrical designer and illustrator C. Walter Hodges. Think you can match costume designs to their Shakespeare characters? Take our quiz.

3. Prologue to Romeo and Juliet

Before it was published in the First Folio of 1623, Romeo and Juliet was published in numerous quarto editions (small books made by folding printed sheets twice to create four double-sided leaves or eight pages). Did you know that most modern editions of the play, including The Folger Shakespeare edition, are based primarily on the second quarto from 1599? In fact, the First Folio does not include the play’s famous prologue at all. This image comes from one of the Folger’s copies of the 1599 second quarto. Take our quiz to see if you know the prologue well enough that you can put all the lines in the correct order.

4. Owl illustration

This image comes from the anonymous text The Owles Almanacke (1618), which (according to its title) was “Found in an ivy-bush written in old characters, and [is] now published in English by the painful labours of Mr. Jocundary Merry-braines.” Read all about owls in Shakespeare’s world and the early modern imagination.

5. Hamlet watercolor

This 1923 gouache, watercolor, and pen illustration by the prolific Bohemian artist Artuš Scheiner depicts Hamlet’s meeting with the ghost of his father.

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