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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1821

Harvard Theatre Collection Shakespeare fantasy prints

Contains prints depicting scenes from plays by William Shakespeare which are not related to any particular production.


  • circa 1790-1938

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.


2.5 linear feet (60 oversize folders)

Contains prints depicting scenes inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays, not relating to actual productions of said plays. Many of the prints were published by Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, which aimed to produce illustrated edition and folios of Shakespeare’s works from 1786 to 1804. Most of these prints are engravings. The files that contain only prints published by Boydell Shakespeare Gallery are noted in the file titles. Another group of prints were created by Edward A. Wilson, an illustrator who created a Shakespeare-inspired calendar of prints from 1937-1938. Plays portrayed by the artists include: All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Henry IV Parts I and II, Henry V, Henry VI Parts I-III, Julius Caesar, King John, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s lost, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice, Merrry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Richard II, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida, Twelfth Night, and Winter’s Tale.

Biographical / Historical

The Harvard Theatre Collection was founded in 1901 through the efforts of Professor George Pierce Baker, and collects documentary materials pertaining to the history of the performing arts, including theatre, dance and ballent, and opera and musical theatre, among other areas.

Shakespeare fantasy prints are a type of visual work depicting scenes from Wililam Shakespeare's plays. These scenes are not related to productions of the plays, but instead appear as if the scenes occurred in reality, as imagined and created by artists inspired by the plays. Many of prints of this type were published by Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, a gallery established by John Boydell in 1786 with the aim to produce illustrated editions of Shakespeare's plays and a folio of prints of Shakepeare-inspired scenes based upon paintings by British artists. The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery produced prints until 1804.


Arranged alphabetically by Shakespeare play title, followed by miscellaneous groups of prints.

Physical Location

pfd (P1.C1.07.01 - P1.C1.07.03 [Folders 1-43]), ppf (P1.C1.07.04 - P1.C1.07.05 [Folders 44-60])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Unknown acquisition source.

Related Materials

See further engravings of scenes from Othello by Théodore Chassériau in the Houghton Library collection: Othello : seize esquisses dessinées et gravées and Othello : quinze esquisses a l'eau-forte.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018.
Harvard Theatre Collection Shakespeare fantasy prints, circa 1790-1938 (MS Thr 1821): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 June 27
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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