The folio came out when theaters were idled in the 1640s by the Puritan governments as civil war raged. As such, as well as a substitute for playgoing, it was something of a political statement since it was produced by Royalist publisher Humphrey Moseley.
This particular copy was made specifically for the then recently exiled Prince of Wales, and the cover features his armorial stamp of feathers emerging from a coronet and his motto "Ich dien" ("I serve"). It became part of his personal library before 1649.
“King Charles II’s 1647 Beaumont and Fletcher folio is the most valuable copy of this iconic collection of plays in existence,” said Dr. José Pérez Díez, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Leeds. “It is a major research resource that will enable us to share and enjoy the riveting English drama of the seventeenth century with the wider community and scholars around the world.”
The special collections at Leeds' Brotherton Library also includes Ben Jonson’s 1616 Works folio and Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. Díez will be giving a free online talk about the folio on February 11, 2021.