“Double, Double Toil and Trouble” — A Few of Shakespeare’s Witches

October 31st, 2016

As anticipation builds for the opening later this week of the First Folio exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art on campus, we can’t resist offering some witches from much later illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays — this in the Halloween spirit today. All these witches figure in the Illustrated Shakespeare Collection, an early project in the Digital Collections of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

From the digitized version of John Thurston, Illustrations of Shakspeare [sic]; comprised in two hundred and thirty vignette engravings, by Thompson, from designs by Thurston: Adapted to all editions (1826), call number: YDSR T46 Cutter

Scenes from Macbeth as illustrated by Thurston (1826).

From the digitized version of Frank Howard, The spirit of the plays of Shakspeare [sic]: Exhibited in a series of outline plates illustrative of the story of each play, vol. 5 (1833), call number: YDSR H84 Cutter

"Outline plate" of the three witches as depicted by Frank Howard (1833).

From the digitized version of John Boydell, The gallery of illustrations for Shakespeare’s dramatic works: Originally projected and published by John Boydell reduced and re-engraved by the Heliotype process … (1874), call number: YDSR B78 oversize

Plate XCI for Macbeth from Boydell's Gallery (1874).

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake
In the cauldron boil and bake.
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Macbeth, act IV, scene 1