First Folio is centerpiece of treasures exhibition

by James Ufland

A recently recovered first folio of Shakespeare’s works is currently the main attraction in the inaugural exhibition at the Wolfson Gallery.

Having resurfaced after a major international police investigation, it will now form the centrepiece of ‘The Treasures of Durham University’ exhibition until Sunday 6th March. The folio will be displayed in the damaged state it was found in, after its bindings and a number of pages were removed in an attempt to disguise the book’s origin.

The rare 1623 edition of the playwright’s work had been stored in Palace Green library until it was stolen in 1998.

Last August, 53 year old playboy Raymond Scott, was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the work’s disappearance. He was caught in June 2008 when he asked the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC to value the folio, which he claimed he had found in Cuba. Although acquitted of the original theft, Scott was found guilty of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from Britain.

In recent interviews Scott has compared life in jail to that at an expensive health club. The former Cuban cigar smoking and champagne drinking council house resident is adapting well to a life without luxuries and is enjoying the perks of free specialist healthcare.

Now receiving treatment for his alcoholism and depression, Scott remarked, “There are people who pay thousands to go to places for the treatment I have received inside, which I, of course, get for nothing”.