Is This William Shakespeare © 2013
The above ‘Heading’ is a bold statement, we do believe that The Wadlow Is Shakespeare & we are not alone. However, proving this is a difficult task, we have the advantage of probable ‘SMOKING GUN EVIDENCE’ it being likely there is evidence beneath over-paint (see technical page). Hopefully it will not be long before we are able to prove our theory or are proven wrong.Somewhere out there is a facility that will be able TO FIND what is beneath and if it is the Shakespeare Coat of Arms or reference to him, we shall have our proof, no other portraits claiming to be Shakespeare have this chance of such PROOF.
The mainstream ‘Shakespeare’ experts and coverage from the press, are proving illusive. I believe there is a fear of being made to look silly, as one art historian put it, “there are too many academic ships wrecked on that shore”. I believe that leading scholars are nervous to get involved without the backing of an institution, but the institutions will not get involved without the backing of a leading scholar. The sad fact is, that unless you move in the right circles and no the right people it is difficult to progress, but we shall not stop until we prove one way or the other. I do wonder, if The Cobbe, had been found in a small family home in Hertfordshire with the owners not having the connections the Cobbe owner probably has, if some seven years later it would be as well know as it is?
We are not asking Scholars, Institutes and indeed the Media to ‘jump on board’ & say “This is Shakespeare”, we are asking for The Wadlow to be seriously investigated and considered as a possibility until proven otherwise. It would be such a loss to the Nation and Shakespeare lovers worldwide if we are correct but it remained unknown, hence, to the dismay of some scholars our social media coverage and now this site shall continue until we have answers or have gone as far as we can go!
The video merger (above right) shows remarkable similarities of the Wadlow & The Droeshout Engraving. This is important, the Droeshout is the only confirmed image of The Bard. It is used by researchers to compare with portraits claiming to be of Shakespeare. Add to this the mergers with the Cobbe and Chandos portraits, & the comparisons with the Droeshout & Wadlow mouths (see slide show right) and we have good basis for further research.
One area of difference is the distinctive indentation on the sitters right side of face present in The Droeshout & Chandos, but not the Wadlow & Cobbe. However as you can see from images in the slide show (right), this is the one area The Wadlow face has at some point been altered. This may have been due to damage, but it is a coincidence! It may be that a later owner, not realizing they had a portrait of The Bard (due to identity being disguised, see below) thought the indentation could be ‘improved’, it may be that it was changed, when the identifying features of the Portrait were covered, as it may have been seen as a ‘give-away’ as to identity.
Distinctive Fascial Features The image on the right showing circled areas indicate these fascial features associated with Shakespeare Portraiture;
A: Distinctive Nasal Corner sitter left eye.
B: Lack of eyebrow & visible scarring; as noted by Simon Stirling. This appears to match details on a skull that many believe could be Shakepseare’s (see news page) The skull shows an absence of fatty tissues over half of that eyebrow, suggesting scarring.
C: Drooping Eyelid, as is common in The Chandos & Droeshout & ‘cast’ in right eye.
D: Depression, markings as apparent in other images.
E: Depression in centre of forehead near top of frontal bone.
‘31’ & ‘Anno’: Top left in red, is ‘31’ (indicating age) Top right is ‘Anno’ (but year missing!)
If the 31, is age, Shakespeare was 31 in 1595, the date of the ‘Lost’ Portrait as mentioned in George Vertue’s notebooks. Experts have dated The Wadlow at c 1600, with 1595 actually being stated by some.
Artist: Opinions from the most respected experts, are that this is an English man painted by an English painter in the English style.
Peake has been suggested, more than one has indicated William Segar. William Segar was a Herald at The College of Arms. If the Portrait is 1595, Shakespeare would have ‘sat’ for it around a year before his (re) application for family arms. In ‘Upstart Crow to Sweet Swan’ Katherine Duncan-Jones writes (p 112) Segar may have known Shakespeare; he was certainly acquainted with Chapman, Ben Johnson & John Davies of Hereford.
Later, The Shakespeare arms were challenged by Ralph Brooks and Duncan-Jones in the above mentioned book suggests that Segar may have been one of Shakespeare’s ‘champions’ in defending the right of Arms.
Segar’s sister also moved in the same circles as Shakespeare and I believe it reasonable to assume that Shakespeare & Segar would have known each other. As an hypothesise I believe it could be that Shakespeare (certainly a shrewd businessman) could have instructed Segar (A prominent Herald at the College of Arms) to paint his portrait, a few months before applying for arms. Some, have commented that The Wadlow as with the Cobbe are ‘Too grandly’ dressed for Shakespeare, Stanley Wells argues against this point well for The Cobbe, but what better way to show how worthy of Gentleman’s Status you / your family are, other than to have your portrait painted, as a Gentleman, by one of the Heralds. We are though, also working on the theory that the collar, may have been a later addition as per previous pages. On the subject of Dress; Jenny Tiramani, a leading authority on costume of the period, has given her opinion on The Wadlow costume, as most likely a Gentleman or Knight, even including The Collar.
There have been many portraits claiming to be of Shakespeare over the centuries, some deliberate fakes, where changes have been made to ‘look more like’ The Bard, The Wadlow bucks this Trend, it has been changed to hide the fact! This would explain why, until now, no one has realized it is Shakespeare, the deliberate concealment, worked, too well! One thing that is for certain and agreed by all is that the identity of the sitter has been deliberately disguised. There has been a false, poorly executed, Coat of Arms added, technical research shows that something beneath has been covered. This could be an inscription or symbols giving the true identity away and thus needed, for some reason to be covered. On the left it is clear there was a shield shape now painted over. It may have been completely removed (scraped off) but we believe that this is unlikely. The shield, now covered is most likely a Coat of Arms. The shape and area above, could very well tie in with The Shakespeare arms.
Shakespeare’s family Coat of Arms were not granted to Shakespeare’s father until 1596. If The Wadlow is indeed 1595 they would not have been on the portrait when painted (unless he was very confident of obtaining them), however it is not unreasonable to assume that they could have been added a year or so later.
If The Wadlow is Shakespeare, why has someone felt the need to disguise this?
The years after Shakespeare’s death were a period in England of turmoil & change including civil war.
In ‘The True Face of William Shakespeare’ by Hildegard Hammerschmidt Hummel (HHH) (p. 125) it is detailed very clearly how Shakespeare’s bust, like many other busts, statues & pictures, were very likely to have been damaged & destroyed by Puritan iconoclasts. HHH goes on to say; that often the destruction was carried out by specially recruited demolition squads. After Cromwell became Lord Protector of England in 1653 iconoclasm was organised & taken to extremes. The Theatres had been closed since 1642 & were now pulled down. Furious vengeance was wreaked upon these “inanimate offenders” (statues, busts, & images), among which may well have been Shakespeare`s bust, given that he was the arch-representative of the theatre that was anathema to the Puritans.
Images of Shakespeare, would have been destroyed if found. And so owners of such, would very likely have hidden them, it is also possible that paintings could be ‘hidden’ & remain on display if the identity had been disguised and rendered harmless.
Has The Wadlow remained unrecognised, for so long, because of the successful deliberate disguising of whom it is to protect it?
See video merger (YouTube above) Wadlow / Droeshout made with thanks, by Lumiere Technolgy.
In the period there were portraits of 'authors', poets, actors, and artistic types. On the left we have as examples a wonderful portrait of John Donne (which can be found in prominent position next to The Chandos at the National Portrait Gallery), we also have Nathan Field. One very experienced expert of portraits for the period commented that The Wadlow portrait has a similar air about it as the John Donne Portrait. Others have commented, that The Wadlow has a distinct 'Theatrical' look about it. The low neck line of the Collar (see more details below re collar,) the earring and general air, suggest that the sitter was a 'thoughtful' artistic type & unlikely to have been a Cleric, nobleman etc... The Wadlow whoever he is, was Theatrical / artistic.
Here are some Links;
Peer reviewed paper, The faces of Shakespearehttp://www.gold.ac.uk/glits-e/glits-e2013-2014/the-faces-of-shakespeare-revealing-shakespeares-/
Historical Honey Article, Simon Andrew Stirling
Julia Rob Blog
Art & Will Blog
Under The Tudor Rose Interview
Wadlow / Droeshout mouths
portraits of shakespeare