The Brotherton First Folio is held in a red goatskin clamshell box, itself resembling a book, bearing a stamp reading BOUND BY ZAEHNSDORF, LONDON, ENGLAND' in gold on the turn in.
The box has two brass latches to secure it closed. It is decorated with blind fillet borders on the cover and spine and has a red velvet lining.
There are five raised bands on the spine 'SHAKESPEARE' is tooled in gold in the second pane, '1623' is in the third, and 'BROTHERTON COLLECTION' is in the fifth.
The box is not contemporary with the binding; despite the fact that when advertised for sale by Anderson Galleries New York in 1922, the Folio was described as being held in a velvet lined brown, levant morocco case, by Bedford.
The box matches those for the three other Folios in the Brotherton Collection, so we can assume that they were made for Brotherton's library in the early 1920s.
Manuscripts and books in the Brotherton Collection were frequently kept in boxes which resembled books, which would protect them, but also add consistency to the shelves of Brotherton's library.
The boxes reflect to the status of the collector as well as the contents and were produced by the prestigious workshop established by Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1814–1886).
Zaehnsdorf was an Austro-Hungarian who arrived in London in 1837 and established his own bookbinding firm in the 1840s. After his death the business was taken over by his son, Joseph William Zaehnsdorf (1853–1930).
Like Bedford's binding, Zaehnsdorf's work epitomised excellent craftsmanship and 'good taste': a pedigree, no doubt, that was not lost on Lord Brotherton.