This is not Shakespeare (ctd.)

April 24 2016

Image of This is not Shakespeare (ctd.)

Picture: Guardian

Yesterday saw the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and of course the event was marked with many erroneous portraits of the great man. I was pleased, therefore, to see that someone else apart from AHN has taken up the case of the Cobbe portrait - here is William Leahy in The Guardian:

[...] why use a picture of someone who is definitely not Shakespeare to promote Shakespeare?

This common mistake all started in 2006. As explained on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website, this picture, the so-called “Cobbe” portrait was “identified” as being a portrait of William Shakespeare. There is not much evidence for this claim, but the Birthplace Trust purchased* the painting and launched it upon the world through the “Shakespeare Found” touring exhibition in 2009.

The painting’s claim to authenticity seems to be, according to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, that it “may” have been commissioned by the Earl of Southampton. They then go on to repeat a widely held myth that Southampton was Shakespeare’s patron; but there is no evidence that this was true. Or that the earl and the playwright knew each other or ever met or spoke.

* I don't think they did buy it, merely that it was on loan.

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