Shakespeare's First Folio goes on display in CSMVS in Mumbai

A copy of one of the most famous books in the world - ‘Shakespeare’s First Folio’ - will go on display in the CSMVS Museum in Mumbai this month, on loan from the British Library in London.

It is the first time a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio has been on display in India, representing a unique opportunity for the people of Mumbai to see this iconic volume. The 1000-page book, printed in 1623, will be on display from 20 January until 8 March 2017. The book will be left open at one of William Shakespeare’s most loved plays, Romeo and Juliet.

The First Folio is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare's plays, collated and published in 1623, seven years after his death. It is estimated around 750 First Folios were printed, of which 234 are currently known to survive worldwide. The British Library owns five. This copy was formerly owned by George III, and was presented to the British Library (then Museum) in 1823 by his son George IV as part of the King’s Library.

The exhibition forms part of UK/India 2017, a major bilateral year of cultural exchange coordinated by the British Council, celebrating South Asian culture, supported by organisations including the British Library.

The loan is being made possible by a collaboration between the British Library, the British Council and CSVMS Museum, and is being funded by GREAT and local donors in Mumbai.

Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library said:  “We are delighted that this special copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio will be going on display in Mumbai in 2017 for the very first time. Sharing the richness of our collections with people across India in 2017 is hugely important to us and we hope visitors will take this unique opportunity to see this incredible world treasure up close.”

Alan Gemmell, OBE Director, British Council India said, “India has always had a special association with Shakespeare as seen in the various adaptations and interpretations of his work over the years. Bringing First Folio to India is a special milestone in British Council’s celebration of the legacy of the renowned playwright’s work. With new digital projects and unique channels to connect the participants to Shakespeare, we hope that people will not only enjoy the experience but will also be able to engage with the Bard in a more meaningful way.”

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS said “Our new year gift to the city of Mumbai is the chance to view Shakespeare’s First Folio published in 1623, in an exhibition titled ‘What’s in a name?’ This is the first time that this Folio will be travelling to India, in yet another successful partnership with the British Library, London. To make the occasion more meaningful, the CSMVS has organized a six-week-long festival of activity which will engage adults, children, schools, educational establishments, and community groups with the exhibition and create deeper, hands-on engagement with Shakespeare and his writings.”

For more information:

Stephanie Knox
The British Library
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