Rare Shakespeare book enters the digital age

6 April 2011

Before the Shakespeare First Folio went on permanent display in Skipton (find out more about the exhibition) it was taken to the North Yorkshire County Council Record Office in Northallerton. Every page of the First Folio was photographed using a high resolution digital camera. The book was placed on a specialised book cradle and viewed under cold daylight bulbs; both to protect the nearly 400 year old pages.

This process has provided the museum with high quality images of every page within the Skipton First Folio. These can be used to help ensure that the book is as accessible as possible because Folio scholars and students can now look at the images without the book being taken off display. The images are also extremely important for the preservation and security of the First Folio. Although the Folio is displayed in a purpose built case and room with low level lighting, it is still important for the museum’s Curators to monitor the pages of the book to check that no changes are occurring on the surface, for example fading and discolouration. As all First Folios are not identical (largely due to changes and corrections during the printing process) and can, therefore, be distinguished from each other, having these images now means that the museum has a record of how every page looks. If any pages were to ever go missing they could now be immediately identified as belonging to the Skipton First Folio.

Find out more about the County Record Office.

Title page of Henry VIII
Romeo and Juliet speech Extract from Hamlet Page from Henry IV Part Two FINIS motif sued at the end of most plays