Shakespeare’s signature and First Folio on display at City Heritage Gallery

A property deed signed by William Shakespeare and one of the world’s finest First Folios will go on rare public display at Guildhall from Saturday (9 January), as part of commemorative events to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The two treasures, which date from 1613 and 1623, will be displayed in the City of London Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery, alongside documents which bring the story of London’s playhouses to life.

The property deed for a property in Blackfriars is one of only six surviving documents to carry Shakespeare’s authenticated signature, while the First Folio is one of five of the most complete copies in existence and is usually only brought out for consultation by Shakespeare scholars and actors. Simon Russell Beale, Emma Fielding, Sir Ian McKellen, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss are among those who have been invited to view the First Folio.

Laurence Ward, Principal Archivist at the City’s London Metropolitan Archives, said:

“The ‘Shakespeare and London’ exhibition offers people a very rare opportunity to view two of the City of London Corporation’s most valuable items – the signature of the world’s greatest playwright and it seems, a first-time buyer in the London property market, and the 1623 First Folio, which has been described as the most important book in the English language. My colleagues and I at LMA are delighted to play our part in the commemorative programme of events and activities, which includes guided walks around the Square Mile, a modern day version of Visscher’s 1616 engraving of post-Renaissance London, and productions at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Barbican Theatre.”

Shakespeare and London runs from 9 January to 31 March in the City of London Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery and forms part of a programme of special events and exhibitions to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. For full details, please visit

Notes for Editors:

Guildhall Art Gallery (Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE, telephone 020 7332 1868) is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; and Sunday 12 noon - 4pm. Admission FREE

For more details, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 / Email

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is a uniquely diverse organisation. It supports and promotes the City as a world leader in international finance and business services and provides local services and policing for those working in, living in, and visiting the Square Mile. It also provides valued services to London and the nation. These include the Barbican Centre, Barbican Music Library, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Guildhall Library, Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre, London Metropolitan Archives, a range of education provision (including three City Academies); five Thames bridges (including Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge), Central Criminal Court at Old Bailey, over 10,000 acres of open spaces (including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest), and three wholesale food markets. The City of London Corporation is London’s Port Health Authority and also runs the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow. For more details, visit