portraits of shakespeare
Is This William Shakespeare © 2013
Oil on Panel. Examined by experts including The Hamilton Kerr Institute (Dept. Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge) &
all agree circa 1600 with date estimates ranging from 1595 to 1610.
Artist unknown, Peake, Segar, Gheeraerts to name a few have been suggested and research is ongoing. The consensus is that the portrait is of an 'English' man painted by an 'English artist, in the English style for the period. (see Page 'Artist')
The fine lace work of the Collar and excellent detailing of the face and earring lead experts to believe that the portrait was painted by a talented London'based)artist & not a provincial. X Ray and other technical analysis indicate that very little has been repainted on the face and collar, but there is significant over-paint to the background.
Provenance; We are currently researching more detailed information regarding the Portraits history, with one avenue being the possibility of a connection to Robert Kecks collection. This would be most interesting as George Vertue recorded Kecks collection in the 1700's mentioning (a now lost) portrait of Shakespeare dated 1595. The Shakespeare historian Mary Edmond later suggested that this lost portrait could have been the model for the Droeshout! .
Tarnya Cooper writes in her (NPG) book “Searching for Shakespeare” page 54 referring to The Chandos;
“The identification of a portrait of this date without an inscription or coat of arms is always complicated, and without an authenticated lifetime portrait of Shakespeare or further documentary evidence, the claim of the Chandos portrait represents Shakespeare is likely to remain unproven.”
No Portrait of Shakespeare has been discovered or recorded that has a coat of arms or inscription referring directly to him, but if one were to be discovered, this would be very exciting and surely worthy of acceptance as The Bard.
The Wadlow Portrait, clearly has a Coat of Arms (image left). These are poorly executed (especially compared with the detail of the actual portrait). Of course these are not Shakespeare's, so we can rule out any previous efforts to miss lead and pass the portrait off as Shakespeare (as has been common over the last few hundred years), indeed it is to the contrary.
Timothy Duke, Chester Herald at the College of Arms looked into this image for us and commented “The shield on your portrait does not correspond to a conventional coat of arms. Not only are the animal-like figures in an odd configuration, but the white pattern crossing the shield is not an identifiable heraldic charge.
Moreover, it is aligned as a bend sinister. In heraldry a bend conventionally runs from top left of the arms to bottom right (from point of the observer). A bend sinister, running the other way, exists in theory but is rarely seen. The shield seems to have been added to the portrait, in an amateur manner. I wonder whether it would be worth examining the picture under x-ray. Perhaps an earlier painting of arms could be detected beneath the later paint”
Tests at The Hamilton Kerr Institute and Lumiere, confirm that the visible Coat of Arms was a later addition. (see technical page)
And so we can be confident the shield was added at a later date. Whether it was added by someone who had no idea about Heraldry, thus getting it so wrong, or by someone who had knowledge of Heraldry, deliberately getting it wrong, thus avoiding complicated similarities with others, we will just have to guess at.
Experts who have viewed the portrait all accept that has been deliberate concealment of the true identity of the sitter at some stage.
X Ray, (see left) shows that on the opposite side, there is / was a shield now covered. This could be 'The Smoking Gun' evidence that this is William Shakespeare. All we have to do is uncover it !
Added 22 Jan 2017
As for not English, who are we to disagree with the very impressive list of experts, including Sir Roy Strong, whom say that it is English!
CHANGE OF FACE
We see above, that there has been deliberate concealment as to the identity of the Sitter in this Portrait & the image here on the right also has two strange changes.The sitters right eye (circled) has been re painted and Rupert Featherstone at HKI believes a "better eye" lies beneath. Also the sitters right side of Face has been re painted. This may have been to repair damage, or was it to further disguise the sitter?
It is, it has to be said, remarkable that the only part of the face that doesn't tally with the droeshout in the merger is the only part that has been repainted!
Please see our comparison images with the Droeshout and the Video merger; The ONLY area that clearly differs, is the areas that has been changed ! See x-ray showing where the face has been changed where it differs from Droeshout on WHY SHAKESPEARE page.
“As the poet`s admirers are not satisfied that the bust above the grave in the church, or that any other portrait gives a true presentment of his features, except the engraving in the “First Folio”, which is an inartistic picture of the man in his declining years, it is of manifest importance that no picture with honest claims should be rejected until the evidence brought forward in its favour has been thoroughly scrutinised and placed on record, lest that which is so much desired should be lost”.
From The Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare. Thomas Kay, 1914
The above was written by Thomas Kay in the preface to his book 'The Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare.'
Despite meeting opposition, Thomas Kay, whom had purchased the Grafton Portrait, believed, and made his case in his book that the Grafton was Shakespeare. He acquired it, as he could see “the possibility that England might lose the possession”.
He bequeathed the Grafton Portrait to the John Ryland Library Manchester, where it is to this day.
I understand his sentiment, indeed we could have written this regarding our investigation into the Wadlow Portrait. So named by Simon Andrew Stirling in his paper and seminar at Goldsmiths University of London.
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