First Irish edition of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ sells in London
What gift could an Irishman, about to visit the Queen at Windsor Castle, possibly bring as a gift to a woman who really does seem to have everything? A copy of the first Irish edition of Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor might fit the bill. It sold earlier this month, as part of a a folio of six early editions of Shakespeare’s plays, for £4,500 (€5,380) in Sotheby’s London .
The comedy is not regarded as one the playwright’s great plays and is best- remembered for the phrase: “the world’s mine oyster”. This copy of the first Irish edition was printed in 1730 for A Bradley who had premises at “the Golden-Ball and Ring opposite Sycamore-Alley, in Dame Street, Dublin”. Sycamore-Alley which links Dame Street to Merchant’s Quay was later renamed Sycamore Street. Abraham Bradley was a well-known 18th-century bookseller and publisher.