This copy of the First Folio was presented to the State Library of New South Wales (then known as Sydney Free Public Library) by Richard and George Tangye in 1885. They had purchased the Folio at an auction in 1884, for which there are no extant records. The Tangye’s brothers were Cornish engineers and manufacturers. They opened branches of their firm on the European continent and in Sydney and Melbourne, thus often travelling to Australia for their work. The wealthy brothers also had an interest in the arts and, as Rasmussen and West report, “the two donated £10,000 to the Birmingham Art Gallery and £12,000 to the Municipal School of Art”. This copy of the First Folio is the only one known to be housed in Australia. When the Tangye brothers presented it to the library, it was preserved in a carved oak casket. The newspapers wrote about the casket being made of oak that grew in the forest of Arden where scenes from As You Like It take place. The copy, then and now, is stored away from public display and can only be accessed with a special permission. In this copy, there are some inscriptions made by 17th century hands. An interesting one reads, at the end of Hamlet, “Elizabeth Windebank Her Book” (qq1v), who might be Sir Francis Windebank’s daughter. Troylus and Cressida has been added in secretary hand to the Catalogue and starting page number added next to The Winters Tale.
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