This is a first publication of a recently-discovered play script by Ben Jonson (1572-1637), in a limited near-fine edition.


Jonson's play, found in the National Archives in 1996, is a work written to celebrate the 1609 opening of Englands first shopping mall, on the Strand in London. The play has three parts: a speech by the Burse's door-keeper; a speech by a Chinese porcelain merchant; and finally, a song sung by a statue of Apollo which comes to life.  As Stephen Orgel summarises in his introduction, 'The Key Keeper is not only a significant piece by a major Renaissance dramatist, but illustrates one of the functions of the arts in a burgeoning early capitalist economy.' 


Tunbridge Wells, Kent: The Founding Press, 2002. First Edition.


The Key Keeper, Ben Jonson, 2002. 25 x 16 cms, 37 pp. First edition bound in black cloth, titled in gilt to spine. Internally very clean, featuring several black and white illustrations by David Gentleman. In clean example of the dustwrapper featuring a full-page illustration to front panel. Very minor creasing to top of panels. Number 255 of an edition limited to 300 copies.


The Key Keeper - Ben Jonson