Students from partnership schools visited Eton last week to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s revered First Folio.
The event saw 83 pupils from the London Academy of Excellence, Holyport College, St Mary’s School Ascot, and All Hallows Catholic High School – who travelled from Lancashire to be part of the occasion.
Head of English Anna Camilleri led sessions in College Library for the visiting schools, along with College Librarian Rachel Bond and Librarian Emeritus Michael Meredith.
Ms Bond said: “Looking at a copy of the First Folio, especially alongside some of the smaller, cheaper quarto editions of the plays, allows the students to appreciate the boldness of the claim Shakespeare’s fellow actors (and editors) were making for the plays as literature as well as entertainment.
“We hope that the experience of engaging directly with a copy of the First Folio in the library has allowed the boys and visiting students to look at the plays with new eyes, and to help them imagine how the plays may have appeared to readers and viewers 400 years ago.”
A Level students were also invited to an afternoon lecture in the Jafar Hall, which discussed the origins and evolution of the Folios.
The literary masterpiece was initially published in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death.
This comprehensive collection features the usual suspects – like Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet – as well as 18 previously unknown works that were brought to light through this monumental compilation.
The copy housed within College Library arrived at Eton in 1799 through the bequest of Old Etonian, Anthony Storer.