Pen facsimiles of early print

As the commenters on last week’s crocodile guessed, the mystery image showed writing masquerading as print or, to use the more formal term, a pen facsimile (click on any of the images in the post to enlarge them): It’s telling that two of the three guesses focused not on the blackletter but on the roman font and the decorated initial. Both of those aspects, I think, are easier to spot as being somehow “off” in comparison to what we expect from print. But we’re not so used to looking at blackletter, and so a manuscript facsimile of that type isn’t quite as tell-tale. This is particularly true when the facsimile doesn’t have the print nearby as a point of comparison, but the difference isn’t necessarily glaring even looking across the gutter to the early printed page: 

First Folios online

I imagine that you’re all thinking the same thing I’m thinking in the lead-up to April 23rd, Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday: Where can I find a good online facsimile of the First Folio? And I’m here to tell you the answer: In many places! In fact, by my count, there are at least seven eight nine ten eleven different copies of the First Folio that are online in at least reasonably high-resolution facsimiles. But here we must pause a moment, in case there are some of you wondering a) why would one need a high-quality online facsimile of F1 and b) why would one be so excited that there were so many? And I can tell you the answer to this, as well, based on my own experience. Recently I was working on an edition of The Taming of the Shrew and was comparing my text with that of the Folio to make sure I’d caught and…