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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shakespeare in original splendour

Well, he looks as if he could have discovered South America, but it is actually the Bard himself. An authenticated portrait of William Shakespeare, thought to have been made in 1610, when he was 46, is going on show at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in (guess where) Stratford-on-Avon.

Rather appropriately, it will be unveiled on 23 April, his four-hundred-and-forty-fifth birthday.

According to the interesting story in BBC News Online, the portrait belongs to the Cobbe family, and is currently in the possession of Alec Cobbe, who -- also appropriately -- is an art restorer. Mr Cobbe realized the true nature of the painting -- which had been in the family for many generations -- when he visted an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, and saw the portrait of Shakespeare there.

2 comments: said...

Fascinating, don't you think? He seems more interesting, sensual and real than any of the other portraits.
How wrong could they get it... past imitative portraits look like an identitkit from a police line-up when you compare this more original portrait and supposed likeness to the bard. He'd become a caricature and now he looks real somehow.

Joan Druett said...

Apparently this is the only portrait that was made while Shakespeare was still alive. The others date from after his death, and were painted from memory. So no wonder they look like wax effigies, or identikits -- I love the thought of identikits, Maggie!