Boydell Shakespeare Prints 1803

While our images are electronically watermarked, the antique prints themselves are not.

Twelfth Night, Olivia's Garden, Sebastian, Olivia & A Priest BY4 $145
Each print measures approximately 14 inches by 17 inches on heavy wove paper,
with the image area at 6 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches

John Boydell (1719-1804), visionary publisher & Lord Mayor of London, made his large fortune publishing engravings, including views of England & Wales. With a group of influential citizens, he embarked on a massive project utilizing the best English artists to capture the memorable scenes in Shakespeare’s works in a series of large paintings.

Artists included J M W Turner, William Blake, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Will Hamilton, Henry Fuseli, Josiah Boydell, Francis Wheatley, Angelica Kauffmann, and Benjamin West. In 1789, these paintings were showcased in a gallery on the most fashionable avenue in London, England, the Pall Mall.

Engravings from these paintings were published from 1789 to 1803. This project marked a dramatic shift in the art world. Artists had previously worked principally from the commissions of wealthy patrons & royalty now saw the possibility of earning a living in a less restrictive manner. Other entrepreneurs followed Boydell’s lead resulting in the development of a School of Historical Painters.

Sadly, the French Revolution intervened closing off the mainland European market to Boydell, who was forced to shutter his gallery. Almost bankrupted, Boydell’s estate sold the collection of 167 paintings in 1804, a few months after his death. Most have been lost to posterity, but Richard Westall's painting, from Henry VIII, remains in the collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The lasting impact of Boydell’s project was to forever popularize Shakespeare’s works in the eyes of the general public and to change the course of English art, greatly broadening the artist’s ability to earn a living beyond portraiture and views.

Each print measures approximately 14 inches by 17 inches on heavy wove paper, with the image area at 6 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches. The border is not fully shown in the images. On some, this border may have minor imperfections which will easily mat out. These fabulous, high quality engravings rarely appear on the market, so we are delighted to offer them. Please email us if you do not see your favorite, as we do have most of the set.

We accept credit cards & PayPal. Washington state residents pay Washington state sales tax. Shipping for this item is $12.95. Items can be combined to save on postage. International shipping is $25 for any number of prints and buyers are responsible for all customs duties. Our environment is smoke free. We pack professionally using only new materials. All items are beautifully wrapped and suitable for sending directly as gifts. You may return any item within 7 days if not satisfied. To order, you may call us at 1-888-PANTEEK, or send email to


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