Boydell, John [key], 1719–1804, English engraver and print publisher, originator and builder of the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. He studied engraving in London and early began to amass his fortune with the publication of his engravings of views of England and Wales. It is as the publisher of works by other engravers, however, that he is better known. In 1786 he began the publication, by subscription, of prints illustrating Shakespeare's works. The leading English artists were commissioned and a gallery was built by Boydell to house the works. Because of financial reverses, the collection was sold by lottery in 1804.
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