Other Bards, Other Portraits, Other Faces … But Where’s the Beef?

Here’s a very good site to catch up on various images of that ghost-like figure we call the Bard.

The FLOWER portrait, the GRAFTON portrait, the CHANDOS portrait, the SANDERS portrait, the JANSEN portrait, the SOEST portrait….

Beware, however, because none — none! — have anything to do with William Shakspere, the money-lender and grain hoarder and businessman from  Stratford-upon-Avon.


Cheers from Hank

Published in: Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Here’s to that “Shakespeare” Portrait…

Here are some of the doubts about the new “Shakespeare” portrait, being promoted by Stanley Wells and Alec Cobbe and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (of which Professor Wells is chairman), reported in the fabulous site Mr. Shakespeare’s Blog:

David Scott Kastan in The New York Times:

“…said by telephone that there were reasons to question the Cobbe portrait’s provenance — whether it was in fact once owned by the Earl of Southampton or commissioned by him, as the trust representatives believe — and to doubt whether the richly dressed man in the portrait was Shakespeare.

“‘If I had to bet I would say it’s not Shakespeare,’ Mr. Kastan said. But even if it was, he said, the traditions of Elizabethan portraiture meant that it would be unwise to conclude that Shakespeare actually looked like the figure depicted in the portrait. ‘It might be a portrait of Shakespeare, but not a likeness, because the conventions of portraiture at the time were often to idealize the subject,’ he said.

Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian:

“On the evidence adumbrated so far, it seems to me to be to be highly unlikely that the Cobbe portrait is a true lifetime portrait of William Shakespeare, as widely reported today.

“I’m assuming there’s something that Professor Stanley Wells, who has led the charge towards the identification, has something else up his sleeve – because so far the case seems rather unconvincing… Tempting as it is with portraits of this period to go for optimistic identifications, surely there has to be a bit more evidence on the table than this?”

Andrew Dickson, author of The Rough Guide to Shakespeare:

“The difference this time is that the person making the case for the Cobbe portrait is Professor Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and one of the biggest names in the Bard business. Wells called Hammerschidt-Hummel’s findings “rubbish”, and he has been unmoved by other putative portraits. So why go for this one? Jonathan Bate, professor of Shakespeare at Warwick, is cautious.  ‘The case is very intriguing,” he says. ‘It’s a really interesting find, and a really interesting picture. But there are huge ifs.’..

“Michael Dobson, professor of Shakespeare Studies at Birkbeck College in London, believes wish-fulfillment plays a role:

“‘Even scholars can succumb to the craving for Shakespeare biography, some kind of direct contact. We want someone to feel grateful to.’

“Is he a skeptic when it comes to the Cobbe portrait?

‘I haven’t seen it yet, but yes. There’s been such a run of portraits supposedly of Shakespeare that my immediate reaction is to be skeptical. I do think it’s opportune and slightly optimistic – both because of [Shakespeare’s] birthday coming up and the Birthplace Trust being in a position to exhibit it. The whole thing has been very well managed, at the very least.'”

Professor Wells is pushing this portrait while expressing more and more frustration with that annoying “authorship” question.   Here are some of his remarks in The Stage magazine, in reaction to the creation of The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and its Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare, which now has 1450 signatures:

‘In a career of over fifty years I have constantly read and re-read Shakespeare, studied and taught his life and his works, seen all his plays acted on stage film and television innumerable times, thought and written about their significance, and edited all of them both for Oxford University Press and for Penguin.

“During all this time, though I have never seen the slightest reason to doubt his authorship, I have frequently been confronted with the suggestion that they were written, not by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, but by, for instance, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Oxford…

“I have taken part in debates on the authorship, broadcast about it on radio and on television, and written about it in newspapers and in my own books. In general I have tried to be rational, courteous, and tolerant…

I hope I can still be rational and (up to a point) courteous about the subject, but the time for tolerance is over. There is no room for reasonable doubt that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote … the works traditionally ascribed to him...”

And now….the portrait!

Who is this Man?

Who is this Man?

Take that, you doubters!  Oh – and this fellow, below, well, we know who he is:

Edward Earl of Oxford - The Man Who Was "Shakespeare"

Edward Earl of Oxford - The Man Who Was "Shakespeare"

Published in: Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 at 3:31 am  Comments (4)  
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