The world of Shakespeare and Cervantes on show

What would William Shakespeare have made of the fact that April 23, 1616, would mark the date of his own death and that of Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)?

In his plays, Shakespeare (1564-1616) refers to fate as a dear lady, a blind goddess and a strumpet, and it’s tempting to speculate which version of fortune he would have credited with the event.

Whatever the case, Daniel Crouch Rare Books (London) will make the most of this twist of fate next month with the exhibition Rounded with a Sleep: an exhibition commemorating the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare and Cervantes.

Bringing together books and maps from across Europe, the exhibition will highlight images of England as Shakespeare might have known it.

Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg’s Civitates Orris Terrarum provides a birds-eye View of London as it looked around the beginning of the 17th century.

Produced in six volumes in Cologne between 1572 and 1617, the Civitates… reflects a systematically approached record of the worlds known cities. Part omits aim was to give an account of each city’s citizens, so While the view of London (pictured) features wealthy merchants in the foreground, Cossacks accompany views of Moscow and tidy towns-folk accompany Maastricht.

Wenceslas Hollers (1607-77) panorama offers another view of London, published in the mid-17th century, shows The Globe Theatre tucked among the buildings of the south bank of the Thames.

Another View of England is depicted in Christopher Saxtons First National Atlas, one of the earliest national surveys. Published in London in 1579, it is a view of London Shakespeare would have recognised.

Held 400 years after the death of Shakespeare and Cervantes, the dates of the exhibition will also run across UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day – celebrated on April 23 in recognition of the two author’s memorial dates.

Co-hosted by Libreria Bardon (Madrid) and Stephane Clavreuil Rare Books (London), at Daniel Crouch in Bury Street, St James’s, in central London, the exhibition will also include a selection of literary works. Notable among these is a fifth edition of Hamlet published in quarto in 1637.

Represented by 250 volumes in languages including English, Russian and Danish, the complete works of Cervantes will be exhibited in various editions from the 17th century onwards.

One of the volumes featured dates to the year after his death. Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda was Cervantes’ last work, and the rare first edition exhibited is accompanied by an 18th century edition of Don Quixote.