1664 FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST COLLECTED EDITION OF KILLIGREW’S PLAYS, WITH SCARCE FRONTISPIECE, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
KILLIGREW, Thomas. Comedies and Tragedies. London: Henry Herringman, 1664. Folio (measures 8 by 11-1/2 inches), early 20th-century full red crushed morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. $6000.
First edition, first issue, containing Killigrew’s most famous play, The Parson’s Wedding, and with the scarce engraved frontispiece portrait featuring Killigrew at his desk with his dog and his playbooks, not present in all copies. Beautifully bound in full morocco-gilt by Bedford.
Killigrew, a favorite of the royal family and the founder of Drury Lane, wrote most of his plays before the Civil War. His finest play, however, The Parson’s Wedding, was written about 1663. Pepys was to declare it “a bawdy and loose play”—which foreshadows the finest of Restoration comedy. His other dramas are either tragicomedies based on popular French romances or loosely autobiographical comedies of English wits and rovers in exile. Although Killigrew wrote his plays in an alternation of prose and a sort of non-metrical verse, this collection prints everything as prose. First issue, with general title and titles to each play, with the imprint “J.M. for A. Crook, 1663” to the titles of Claricilla and The Prisoners. Wing K450. Pforzheimer 571. Greg III, 1085-86. Bookplates, including that of distinguished African explorer Frank Linsly James (1851-1890, killed by an elephant).
Scarce frontispiece portrait neatly mounted and remargined. Minor marginal repairs to leaves L1 and Yy2. A beautiful copy in fine condition.