The son of a wealthy clergyman, Edward Capell was educated at Bury St. Edmunds before he was admitted as a pensioner to St. Catherine's College Cambridge in 1730. He attend the Middle Temple the same year; afterwards he was deputy-inspector of plays (1737) and Groom of the Privy Chamber (1745). Capell published an edition of Shakespeare (1768) followed by three volumes of commentary (1783). He lived the life of an eccentric and misanthropic scholar, as recorded in Samuel Pegge's amusing biography. Capel Lofft was his nephew.
Antony and Cleopatra fitted for the stage [with Garrick]. 1758.
Prolusions: or select pieces of antient poetry, offer'd as specimens of the integrity that should be found in the editions of worthy authors. 1760.
Reflections on originality in authors. 1766.
Shakespeare, Works. 10 vols 1767-68.
Notes and various readings to Shakespeare. 1774.
Notes and various readings to Shakespeare. 3 vols, 1779-83.
The poems of William Shakespeare, with Mr. Capell's history of the origin of Shakespeare's fables. 1798.