Clobbering the Cobbe…

The “Cobbe” portrait of the Bard being promoted by Stanley Wells and the “Shakespeare Industry” may yet prove to be a turning point in the much larger debate over the true authorship of the great poems, plays and sonnets.  Among those exposing this new attempt to “humanize” the mythical figure of Will of Stratford is Jeremy Crick of the De Vere Society in England, with a letter published today in The Independent.

“Truth is truth to the end of reckoning,” Shakespeare wrote in MEASURE FOR MEASURE; and in this new portrait debate, all roads are leading to Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who wrote, “Truth is truth, though never so old, and time cannot make that false which was once true.” [=40] Cecil Papers 99/161: Oxford to Cecil, 7 May [1603].   (See Nina Green’s THE OXFORD AUTHORSHIP SITE)

Here is the text of Mr. Crick’s letter of Monday, March 30:

Jansen Portrait

Jansen Portrait

Shakespeare “expert” Stanley Wells needs to brush up on his  scholarship if he wishes to retain that sobriquet (report, 28 March). By continuing to claim the Cobbe portrait as a genuine portrait of Shakespeare, it is understandable that his arguments must also accommodate the Folger portrait (otherwise known as the Janssen), because one of the paintings is clearly a copy of the other.

I can only assume that, as a scholar, Mr Wells has read the results of the X-ray analysis of the Janssen by Charles Wisner Barrell in the 1940s which proved that the age of the sitter – “A.E. 46” – had been overpainted on the original figure of 40, and that the date underneath of 1610 had been overpainted on the original date of 1590. These alterations, it is clear, were made by someone keen to fit them to the known dates of Shakespeare, as was the overpainting of the bald head, to increase the value of the painting.

Cobbe Portrait

Cobbe Portrait

Furthermore, Mr Wells should be able to recognise that the pattern of the ruff on the Janssen carries the Tudor rose design, common in 1590, and not the Scottish thistle which became the vogue on the succession of James I in 1603.

Barrell also performed a similar analysis upon another painting purporting to be of Shakespeare in the Folger’s collection, the “Ashbourne” portrait. Discovering a similar overpainted bald head and altered dates to fit Shakespeare, he also found the monogram of the painter, CK, and, together with a wealth of other information, concluded that the painting was actually the lost portrait of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, by Cornelius Ketel.

Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford 1575

Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford 1575

Ashbourne Portrait

Ashbourne Portrait

What an irony that someone hoping to make a fast buck (in this instance, the Reverend Clement Kingston, who was later sacked by Ashbourne Grammar School) out of a new portrait of Shakespeare should have used a genuine portrait of the leading candidate in the Shakespeare authorship question. Jeremy Crick

Newcastle-under-Lyme, STAFFORDSHIRE

Published in: Uncategorized on March 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Cheers, Hank.

    My website’s Marlovian take on the Cobbe.

    Best,
    Carlo
    http://marlowe-shakespeare.blogspot.com/2009/04/stanley-wells-and-cobbe-portrait-by-ros.html

  2. I enjoyed Mr. Crick’s insights. I’m under the impression that this is the same Cobb family that gave us the Southampton in Drag Portrait. Is this correct? If so, I much prefer the old to the new. That Southampton portrait is truly enigmatic.


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