London: by H[enry]. H[ills]. Jun. for Hen Herringman and R Bentley, and sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders, 1691. First Edition. hardcover. 2nd or 3rd separate edition, an internally fine copy of it and other copies are not fine. As rare as any of the 17th century editions of Julius Caesar including the 1st of 1684 (census data is vague). That said, the glory of this copy is its quality. Early 20th century full red morocco by Rivière & Son, spine gilt titled, ruled in gilt with a French fillet, intricate gilt inner dentelles, gilt edges. Small paper flaw to the blank margin of page 21, else fine and rare in this condition, with large margins all around (8 7/8” X 6 1/2”), but most important, the pages are fresh and unrepaired. And it is also much finer than the other copies of it at auction in the last 40 years, all defective, or with repairs, or trimmed, and/or in poor condition, with only one copy at auction, of any 17th century Caesar separate edition, in condition close to ours ($33,750, at Sotheby’s, in 2011). Cloth case. Near fine. Item #926
No edition of Julius Caesar was published during Shakespeare’s lifetime, the posthumous collected works in folio being the sole authority for the play. It was revived by Thomas Killigrew’s King’s Company in 1672, using the original text, with Charles Hart initially playing Brutus, but no edition was published. Thomas Betterton took the part in later productions and is here named in the cast listed in our edition, with his boyhood friend Edward Kynaston as Antony. The 1st separate edition was published by Herringman in 1684 (the most common of the quarto editions), the year he turned over the retail side of his business to Francis Saunders and Joseph Knight, and the year before he published Shakespeare’s 4th folio. It was followed by 4 undated editions with closely similar imprints, and a 1691 dated edition with an imprint mentioning only Herringman and Bentley. No data positively ordering them is known, but in 1969 John Velz superseded Henrietta Bartlett’s 1913 bibliography. He thinks the 1691 edition was an authorized one, and identifies our edition as the first (QU1) of 3 unauthorized editions printed by Henry Hills Junior, the printer of the 1684 edition, and was issued in direct competition to Herringman’s 1691 edition, for which Hills was not re–employed as printer, so my guess is 1691, or it would not have been competitive, but we may never know for certain, because the data is so thin, and though the data for rarity seems firm, it would surprise no one if new discovery reordered them. Ref: John W. Velz, “Pirate Hills” and the quartos of Julius Caesar, BSA Papers, v. 63 (1969) 177–193.