A PRICELESS book regarded as one of the most important in English literature is about to go on show at the Yorkshire Museum.

A rare copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio is on its way to the museum, in York, where it will remain on show into the summer.

At the time of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, 18 of his plays had not reached print, including Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

They merely existed as handwritten actors’ stage notes and Shakespeare’s own drafts. However in 1623, a compilation of 36 of the Bard’s plays were published together in one volume – and it is unlikely that any would have survived without the Folio.

Of the 750 copies originally printed, around 230 survive with fewer than 50 remaining in the British Isles. Only four of those are on permanent public display.

The Yorkshire Museum has arranged to borrow the First Folio from the Craven Museum in Skipton, which was left the copy some 80 years ago by a wealthy local family.

In return, the York museum is loaning the Craven attraction two rare Iron Age gold torcs it recently acquired.

York’s curator of archaeology, Natalie McCaul, said: “The Skipton First Folio is one of only four copies worldwide that is on permanent display to the public and, taking over two years to print, it is believed that no two copies of the book are the same, which makes it even more special.”

It will be on show from March 27 until July 15.