LUNA: Folger Digital Image Collection
Digital Image File Name:
Source Call Number:
Wood no. 14
Perry, W. (William) artist.
Casket, carved in an Elizabethan style [realia]
Source Created or Published:
Digital Image Type:
HAMNET CATALOG RECORD:
Perry, W. (William) artist.
Casket, carved in an Elizabethan style [realia] / William Perry.
Place of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
Date of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
Physical Description (Hamnet):
1 casket : oak ; 9 1/8 in. high, 22 in. wide, 14 7/8 in. deep.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Portraits.
Certification: on silver plaque inside drop front, "...This casket carved out of Herne's oak, the tree mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor, -contains / the first collected edition of / Shakespeare's poems, published anno. 1640, / and the still more rare first edition of his / dramatic works, published anno-1623. / William Perry, carver, 1866. / The old tree fell down in 1863, a portion being most graciously given by/Her Majesty Queen Victoria to Miss Burdett Coutts, / for the purpose of encasing volumes which are / 'not for an age, but for all time.'" This inscription begins with the line, "Who chooseth me, shall gain what many men desire." The silver lock plate is stamped, "Hobbs and Co., 76 Cheapside, London." The flush silver hinges are stamped with the initials "DH" over "CH," probably for the London silversmiths, Hands & Co. See C. Jackson. English goldsmiths...1905, p. 215. With this mark is a lion passant and another mark that is illegible.
Condition reviewed 19880000 the casket is generally in good condition. There are some abrasions from being moved or struck. Two wear points are on the front panel with wood loss at the base of each figure. A horizontal piece, about 1" long, is missing from the lower right
This record contains unverified data from a re-keying contract and may contain incorrect or incomplete text. Please consult Curator for assistance.
Footed casket, carved in low relief, has a drop front and is fitted with 4 compartments made of cedar. The lower compartment was made for the First Folio and the upper center space was made for Shakespeare's Poems. In his book, A treatise on the identity of Herne's oak...1867, in which Perry describes this casket, he calls the upper side compartments "drawers" and says he made them to house "...relics, or interesting memoranda relating to the immortal Bard..." The casket was designed so that the books and drawers could be ejected by a concealed springs. Directions are inscribed on ivory panels mounted on either side of the certification plaque inside the dropped front. The mechanism no longer works. William Perry carved the casket in an Elizabethan style, setting most ornaments on the 4 sides and the top in strapwork. The center of the top has a portrait of Shakespeare carved after the Droeshout image with the inscription, "Shakespeare, 1623." The portrait is encircled by a wreath of bay leaves intertwined in the strapwork. On either side are ornaments with his birth and death dates. The ground of the top has been treated to have a matte finish. At the corners are globes with oak wreaths. The molding around the edge of the top is decorated with a band of ivy leaves. According to Perry's account of this carving, the center front of the casket has the arms of Miss Burdett Coutts, as she was known at that time. His carving differs, somewhat, from the description of the arms in Burke's The General Armory...1884, p. 235, which states in part that the 1st and 4th quarters (for Coutts) have a stag's head "caboshed." Perry carved a stag's head "erased." Burke also states that the 2nd and 3rd quarters (for Burdett) have 2 bars, each charged with 3 martlets. There are no martlets. See Webster's New International Dictionary...1936, for pictures of heraldic images. On either side of the arms is the monogram, AGBC. Above the arms is a keyhole, no escutcheon. The back has the shield of Shakespeare, flanked by his crest, the haggard falcon. The sides have the monograms WS and AH for William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. At the angles of the casket are niches, each having an oak tree in bas relief at the back with ivy growing around the trunks. In the niches are 4 figures from The Merry Wives of Windsor, reading from the left front, counterclockwise, Slender, Ann Page, Falstaff, and Mistress Quickly. The figures are carved in full relief.
Provenance: From the collection of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts auctioned by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, May 15, 1922., lot no. 401, hammer price L22/-/-. Auction catalog in HCF's file, Correspondence: Folios and Quartos. The casket was bought through the Rosenbach Co., Philadelphia, by Philip H. Rosenbach for L22/-/-. See letter in Art Records File, May 19, 1922. The volumes for which this casket was made were purchased in the same transaction. Miss Burdett-Coutts bought the volumes indirectly from the George Daniel sale, sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, July 20, 1864, lot nos. 1416/1457. See Film Acc. 484 (107). Volumes now cataloged as STC 22273 no. 5 (First Folio) and STC 22344 copy 1 (Poems)
Call Number (Hamnet):
Wood no. 14