First Folios on show in 2023

During 2023, copies of original First Folios were displayed to the public across the UK and elsewhere, many of them on 'Folio Day' on 23rd April, the day recognised as Shakespeare's birthday.

This list ranks them according to their distance from William Jaggard’s Print House, where all the copies of the First Folio were created.

Distance from Jaggard's Print House

Venue, Location

Date(s) Displayed

0.5 miles

Guildhall Library, London

24th April 2023

The Guildhall Library, London

Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, City of London, EC2V 5AF

Free entry

The City of London Corporation’s First Folio was displayed, and accompanied by a 10-minute introductory talk about the First Folio given on the hour throughout the day. Quartos of Henry IV Part One and Othello were also displayed, next to a replica copy of the First Folio that visitors could look through.

1.0 miles

Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Displayed throughout 2023

The Globe Theatre

The Upper Foyer, Shakespeare’s Globe,
21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT

Free entry

The ‘Munro’ First Folio (privately owned) was on daily display alongside a short film on the making of the First Folio. The Folio was normally open at one of the plays being performed in the Globe Theatre or Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

1.1 miles

Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

31st October 2023

Sir John Soane’s Museum by Gareth Gardner, © Sir John Soane’s Museum
Photo by Gareth Gardner © Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum,
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a house museum, located next to Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holborn, London, which was formerly the home of neo-classical architect John Soane.  Accompanying a talk by Professor Emma Smith, the First Folio purchased by Soane in 1825 (and still in the collection of the museum) was available to view.

1.9 miles

The British Library, London

Displayed throughout 2023

The British Library

The Sir John Ritblat; Treasures Gallery,
The British Library, 96 Euston Road,
London, NW1 2DB

Free entry

On 5th October, 2023 the British Library published a slip-cased facsimile of the celebrated ‘Phelps-Clifford First Folio’ from its collections, and from October 2023 to February 2024 it presented a special anniversary display of early Shakespeare editions, including the Phelps-Clifford First Folio.

2.2 miles

Christie’s, London

2nd to 26th May 2023

Christie's, London

Christie’s, London
8 King Street, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6QT

Free entry

Christie’s celebrated Folio400 with a special exhibition bringing together six rarely-seen First Folios from British private and institutional libraries. No other exhibition in the UK had ever displayed so many copies at once since they first went on sale at Edward Blount’s bookshop in November 1623. The exhibition included the Arundel Castle copy (courtesy of the Duke of Norfolk); the Gray-Blatchford-Sterling copy (courtesy of Senate House Library, University of London); the Murray copy (courtesy of John Murray); the Vernon copy (courtesy of a private owner; lent by the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham); the Honeyman copy (privately owned); and the Halliwell-Watson copy (privately owned).

4.2 miles

The V&A, London

Displayed throughout 2023

Victoria and Albert Museum
Photo By Diliff

Room 103, Victoria & Albert Museum,
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Free entry

The V&A’s ‘Forster’ First Folio was displayed in the Theatre and Performance Galleries throughout 2023. They also produced a short film which looked in detail at one of their three copies of the First Folio.

5.6 miles

Royal Museums Greenwich, London

31st March to 24th September 2023

National Maritime Museum
Photo by Katie Chan

Maritime London Gallery,
National Maritime Museum,
Romney Road, London, SE10 9NF

Free entry

Dulwich College’s First Folio was part of ‘The Tempest and the Thames’, a display drawing links between the nautical in Shakespeare’s work and the city in which he wrote. On Shakespeare’s birthday, special tours of the Tudor and Stuart Gallery and the Queen’s House were held, and a conference on Shakespeare’s relationship with the sea, with speakers including Professors Steve Mentz and Emma Smith, took place on 8th & 9th September.

24.5 miles

The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

2nd to 9th November 2023

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ

School groups were able to book an escorted visit, which included an introduction to Shakespeare within the Royal Collection, and entry to the wonderful Royal Library, a private area of Windsor Castle not open to the public, where they met with a royal librarian or curator to hear about some of the treasures on show, including the copy of the First folio acquired by King George IV. Students were able to explore the Castle and St George’s Chapel to learn about Windsor’s links to the great playwright.

30.8 miles

Eton College, Windsor

16th, 17th & 24th September 2023

Eton College, Windsor

Eton College Collections, Eton College,
Windsor, SL4 6DW

Eton College displayed their copy which was bequeathed by an Old Etonian in 1799. It is highly unusual as it has been augmented with about 100 inserted pages, on which are pasted engraved prints of scenes and portraits relevant to the plays

57.4 miles

King’s College Library, Cambridge

8th September 2023

King's College, Cambridge, Photo By Antoine Taveneaux
Photo By Antoine Taveneaux

King’s College Library, King’s Parade,
Cambridge, CB2 1ST

Free entry

First, Second and Fourth Folios were displayed alongside items from the archives showcasing the history of theatre in Cambridge and King’s College.

59.2 miles

Queen’s College, Oxford

23rd April 2023

The Queen's College, Photo By Odicalmuse

The Queen’s College, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AW

Free entry

The college displayed their copy of the First Folio which was once owned by the great Shakespearean actor and theatre manager David Garrick.

59.3 miles

Weston Library, Oxford

25th February to 14th May 2023

Weston Library, The Bodleian Libraries
Photo By John Cairns Photography

Weston Library, The Bodleian Libraries, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

Free entry

An exhibition ‘Thou Art Translated’ displayed a First Folio alongside a selection of translated texts in languages from Albanian to Xhosa.

59.3 miles

Wadham College, Oxford

23rd April 2023

Front Quad, John Cairns, Wadham College, Oxford
Photo by John Cairns Photography

Wadham College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX29 9UR

Wadham displayed their copy of the First Folio, which was bequeathed in 1775 by the botanist and literary scholar Richard Warner, a former student at the college.

77.7 miles

Winchester College, Winchester

20th April to 20th November 2023

Treasury at Winchester College

Treasury, Winchester College, Winchester, SO23 9NA

Free entry

Winchester College’s Treasury presented an exhibition showing their copy of the First Folio, alongside Ben Jonson’s Folio and a quarto of Thomas Heywood’s A Fair Maid of the West, as well as a selection of eighteenth century books, including Alexander Pope’s 1725 edition of Shakespeare’s works, Lewis Theobald’s copybook with his manuscript annotations and Theobald’s own edition of Shakespeare.

82.7 miles

Suffolk Archives at The Hold, Ipswich

14th July to 29th October 2023

Wolsey's Ipswich - Suffolk Archives at The Hold

Suffolk Archives at The Hold
University of Suffolk, 131 Fore Street,
Ipswich, IP4 1LN

Free entry

An exhibition, ‘Wolsey’s Ipswich’, part of the celebrations of the 550th anniversary of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, included a First Folio on loan from Trinity College, Cambridge. The exhibition looked at how Wolsey has been depicted throughout history, including within Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, first published in the First Folio.

102 miles

The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon

25th March to 5th November 2023

Shakespeare's New Place
Photo by Luca Giacometti

Shakespeare's New Place, 22 Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6EP

The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust presented an exhibition, ‘To The Great Variety of Readers: Celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s First Folio,’ at New Place. Its centrepiece was the ‘Ashburnham’ First Folio, together with the gold seal ring that bears the initials ‘W.S.’, was discovered close to Stratford’s, Holy Trinity Church, and is thought to have been worn by Shakespeare. This was also the first display of a small 17th-century notebook that is an example of one of Shakespeare’s earliest and most devoted fans, who filled it with quotations and notes on the plays contained within the Folio.

109 miles

Longleat House, Wiltshire

20th April to 29th October 2023

Longleat House, Wiltshire

Longleat House, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW

‘Folio 400: Shakespeare treasures at Longleat’ featured Longleat’s First Folio, the drawing of a performance of Titus Andronicus by Henry Peacham (the only surviving contemporary illustration of a Shakespeare play), and the Longleat portrait of Shakespeare (made in 1704, based on the Chandos portrait).

118 miles

Birmingham Central Library

23rd April to 21st October 2023

Shakespeare Memorial Room Birmingham Central Library, 72-74 Europa House, Northwood Street, Birmingham, B3 1TT

As part of Birmingham Central Library’s ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, Birmingham’s First Folio toured several locations, including Aston Hall (23rd April); South Yardley Library (13th May); Dorothy Parkes Centre, Smethwick (3 June); The Core Library, Solihull (2 July); St Barnabus Church, Erdington (19 August); Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham (21 October); and made a special visit to the Library at HMP Winson Green.

Birmingham University

175 miles

Arras & St Omer, France

2nd & 3rd June 2023

International Conference
1623-2023: Shakespeare’s First Folio across the Ages

A two-day international conference, ‘1623-2023: Shakespeare’s First Folio across the Ages’ was hosted by Université d’Artois, Arras and Bibliothèque d’agglomération du pays de St Omer, and featured a display of the St. Omer First Folio, discovered in 2014. Professors Eric Rasmussen and Emma Smith were the keynote speakers, along with a dozen other international specialists.

195 miles

Brotherton Gallery, University of Leeds

29th March to 24th June 2023

Treasures of Brotherton Library

Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT

Free entry

The University of Leeds displayed the ‘Brotherton’ First Folio. Professor Emma Smith presented a talk in the Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre on 3rd May.

199 miles

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, Manchester

22nd April 2023

John Rylands Library By Stephen Richards
Photo By Stephen Richards

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, University of Manchester, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH

Free entry

Manchester’s rarely displayed First Folio was shown in the stunning surroundings of the Historic Reading Room, as the public were invited to hear short readings and talks and to meet curators and researchers at the University of Manchester to examine and learn about texts illustrating the global connections of Shakespeare’s works from his time to the present. Shakespeare quotations were printed during demonstrations of the Columbian printing press.

203 miles

Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot

19th October to 11th November 2023

Shakespeare North Playhouse

The Exhibition Place, Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prospero Place, Prescot, L34 3AB

Free entry

Shakespeare North Playhouse opened in July 2023. Coinciding with the European premiere production of The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, the British Library kindly arranged for one of their First Folios to be on display in The Exhibition Space, as part of an exhibition telling the story of how the First Folio came to be.

219 miles

The Craven Museum, Skipton

Displayed throughout 2023

The Craven Museum

The Craven Museum, Skipton Town Hall, High Street, Skipton, BD23 1AH

Free entry

The Craven Museum displayed its copy of the First Folio, which belonged to local businessman John James Wilkinson. His family owned Primrose Mill in Embsay, along with tobacconists and grocers’ shops. John was also a noted scientist and amateur playwright, co-writing a play about Skipton. When John died, he left his First Folio to his sister, Ann, who bequeathed it to the museum in 1936.

233 miles

Stonyhurst College, Lancashire

7th July to 19th August 2023

Stonyhurst College

Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 9PZ

A display at Stonyhurst explored the history and stories of approximately 40 objects from its Museum and Archives, each of which have unique links to Shakespeare’s plays that feature within the First Folio. The focal point of the exhibition was Stonyhurst’s First Folio, exhibited in the historic Do Room at the College.

360 miles

Old Trinity Library, Dublin

14th April 2023 onwards

The Long Room, Trinity College By Diliff
Photo By Diliff

The Long Room, Old Trinity Library, Trinity College, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

As part of the Folio400 celebrations, a free public lecture was given by Professor Andy Murphy on 12th April, followed by a symposium on 14th April. Trinity’s copy of the First Folio (the only copy in Ireland) was digitised in its entirety and made freely available online via the Virtual Trinity Library, and the book was the centrepiece of a new exhibition in the Library of Trinity College Dublin entitled “Shakespeare the Irishman” forming part of its ongoing Book of Kells Exhibition. A free online version of the exhibition was made available via Google Arts & Culture.

370 miles

Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Foundation Corboud, Cologne

3rd March to 11th June 2023

Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Foundation Corboud, Obenmarspforten D-50667, Cologne, Germany

An exhibition, ‘The Whole Drama,’ presented the Cologne First Folio (one of the few graded 1A by Sidney Lee) surrounded by forty works from the art and theatre world.

402 miles

The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

April and September 2023

The National Library of Scotland By Kim Traynor
Photo By Kim Traynor

Treasures of the National Library of Scotland Exhibition, The National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW

Free entry

The National Library of Scotland’s permanent exhibition of Treasures gives an insight into Scotland’s history, culture and people and its place in the world, but due to the precious and fragile nature of the items, the exhibits change throughout the year. The Library’s copy of the First Folio was among the treasures displayed in 2023.

405 miles

The Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow

22nd & 23rd April 2023

The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow By Ham
Photo By Ham

The Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow, G12 8QQ

Free entry

Once owned by J.O Halliwell-Phillips (who described it as his ‘second best’ First Folio, being neither ‘ragged nor rotten’) The University of Glasgow’s First Folio was displayed at the Hunterian Art Gallery. Julie Gardham, Librarian in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow, also gave a free public talk on 23rd April, discussing the First Folio and the significance of this copy.

443 miles

Marble Hall, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute

17th April to 3rd May 2023

Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute

Marble Hall, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, PA20 9LR

Normally only available to view by appiontment, the Bute Collection’s First Folio was displayed for visitors to Mount Stuart.

450 miles

Deutsches Literartarchiv, Marbach

12th October 2022 to 21st May 2023

First Folio on display at the Deutsches Literartarchiv (DLA) in Marbach

Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Schillerhöhe 8-10, 71672 Marbach am Neckar, Germany

The First Folio was announced to the world in the October 1622 Frankfurt Book Fair catalogue: “Playes, written by M. William Shakespeare, all in one volume, printed by Isaak Iaggard, in fol.”. Shakespeare’s Globe in London teamed up with the Deutsches Literartarchiv (DLA) in Marbach to celebrate the 400th anniversary of this announcement.

The DLA hosted a two-day international conference ‘Shakespeare – An International Legacy’ on 13th and 14th October, and an exhibition from 12th October 2022 to 21st May 2023 entitled ‘Will’s Book, Shakespeare’s First Folio 400 years on’, whihc presented a First, Second, Third and Fourth Folio, along with a Ben Jonson Folio and array of associated quartos and other artefacts. An occasional series of performance events was given alongside the exhibition.

572 miles

Lyrik Kabinett, Munich, Germany

24th April 2023

Lyrik Kabinett, Munich, Photo by Amrei-Marie
Photo by Amrei-Marie

Lyrik Kabinett, Amalienstr. 83A (Back Building), University of Munich, 80799 Munich, Germany

A First Folio was displayed during an evening of poetry, ‘All the World’s a Book; the 400th birthday of Shakespeare’s First Folio,’ written especially for the occasion by Albert Ostermaier, Uljana Wolf and Marcel Beyer (present in person) and UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw and Ulrike Draener (via video-link).

3,389 miles

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

23rd August 2023 to 4th February 2024

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale 120 High Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

Free entry

Centred around a First Folio copy, an exhibition, ‘Shakespeare For All Time?’ told a broader story, foregrounding early-modern printers, 20th-century bibliographers and booksellers today, reminding visitors that Shakespeare’s position as valuable cultural property was not necessarily inevitable.

4,912 miles

Harry Ransom Center, Texas, USA

19th August to 30th December 2023

Harry Ransom Center

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, 300 West 21st Street, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.

An exhibition, ‘The Long Lives of Very Old Books’ looked at the stories behind books published by Europeans in the early-modern period, including all three copies of the First Folio owned by the University of Texas at Austin.

11,386 miles

Auckland Libraries, Auckland,
New Zealand

23rd April 2023

Auckland Libraries, Photo By Pakoire
Photo By Pakoire

Reading Room, Auckland Libraries, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne Street, Auckland, New Zealand

Free entry

As part of their celebrations, Auckland Libraries created a podcast series on the First Folio, and displayed their copy – the only copy of the First Folio in New Zealand.

Celebrations Past

Find out how the First Folio’s
400th Birthday was celebrated