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Venus and Adonis was William Shakespeare’s first work to be entered into a Stationers’ Company register. This epic poem was entered on April 18, 1593 into the Stationers' Liber B by Richard Field (entered as "ffeild"), a printer from Stratford-upon-Avon.
This diary entry, written by Richard Stonley on Tuesday, June 12, 1593, records the first known purchase of the first edition of Shakespeare's first printed work, the narrative poem Venus and Adonis (London, 1593).
This is the only known copy in existence of the first edition of Shakespeare’s first printed work, Venus and Adonis, which appeared in 1593. During his lifetime Shakespeare was known first and foremost as the author of Venus and Adonis.
On June 25, 1594, the London printer and publisher Richard Field (entered as "ffeild") transferred his rights to print Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis over to his colleague, John Harrison the Elder.
The second edition of Venus and Adonis was published in 1602, only one year after the first edition. The speed with which it was republished suggests that the poem was popular enough to have already sold out or nearly sold out.
The first known printed reference to Shakespeare appears in a commendatory poem introducing the poetry collection Willobie his Avisa, printed in 1594. The poem, entitled “In praise of Willobie his Avisa, Hexameton to the Author,” appears before the main text.