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Boydell Shakespeare Gallery
The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery in London, England, was the first stage of a three-part project initiated in November 1786 by engraver and publisher John Boydell in an effort to foster a school of British history painting. In addition to the establishment of the gallery, Boydell planned to produce an illustrated edition of William Shakespeare's plays and a folio of prints based upon a series of paintings by different contemporary painters. During the 1790s the London gallery that showed the original paintings emerged as the project's most popular element.
The works of William Shakespeare enjoyed a renewed popularity in 18th-century Britain. Several new editions of his works were published, his plays were revived in the theatre and numerous works of art were created illustrating the plays and specific productions of them. Capitalising on this interest, Boydell decided to publish a grand illustrated edition of Shakespeare's plays that would showcase the talents of British painters and engravers. He chose the noted scholar and Shakespeare editor George Steevens to oversee the edition, which was released between 1791 and 1803.
The press reported weekly on the building of Boydell's gallery, designed by George Dance the Younger, on a site in Pall Mall. Boydell commissioned works from famous painters of the day, such as Joshua Reynolds, and the folio of engravings proved the enterprise's most lasting legacy. However, the long delay in publishing the prints and the illustrated edition prompted criticism. Because they were hurried, and many illustrations had to be done by lesser artists, the final products of Boydell's venture were judged to be disappointing. The project caused the Boydell firm to become insolvent, and they were forced to sell the gallery at a lottery.
Engravings, Etchings and C19 reproductions of Millais's Paintings
Martin Beek says:
In recent weeks we've been looking at some of Millais'works as engraved by Samuel Cousins and T.O.Barlow etc. Many of the public came to know and love Millais work through black and white reproductions. Sadly during the C20 much Victorian work of this sort was lost, destoyed or thrown out. I even remember my Great Grandmother having one or two large engravings that I'd give my eye teeth to own now! I hope to produce a list here. If you are lucky enough to spot such a work after Millais please post in this thread.
12:18AM, 24 September 2008 PDT (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
T.O.Barlow engraver and friend of the artist, this is a a print based on his portrait by Millais at Oldham Art Gallery. Barlow was the Grandfather figure in "The Ruling Passion" (Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery"
Still For A Moment engraved by George Zobel 1876 shortly before the most successful print run of all "Cherry Ripe" . Millais's fancy pictures in emulation of C18 painting were widely sought after and were among the most popular of his later output.
John Bright engraved by Barlow (above) these portraits were also very popular and of course include many of Victorian England's leading figures.
Also engraved by Barlow "Cardinal Newman" , pretty certain there are a few churches who still have this in their vestry.
Christmas Eve an etching by R.W.Macbeth, I first saw this one before I'd ever seen the painting way back in 1978 it was hanging at Murthly Castle (its location) . This is possibly the best translation of a Millais landscape into printed form, largely because of the snowy subject. boggy landscapes such as "Over The Hills and Far Away" and "Lingering Autumn" were not altogether successfully translated into prints.
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
Martin Beek edited this topic ages ago.
Art Link To The World says:
9/28/08 6:20 PM CST. Macbeth was a skilled enough, top of the line etcher no subject was a problem to him. J.B.
ages ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
An Etching of Over The hills and Far Away by Debaines.
ages ago (permalink)
Here's one- it's on my other photostram which is gathering dust now,- an old postcard of Millais' "Mercy, St Bartholemew's Day".
Is it still in the Tate Gallery, I wonder, somewhere in the vaults gathering dust with the rest of the less fashionable Victoriana?
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
seriykotik1970 edited this topic ages ago.
Martin Beek says:
Thanks Ian, yes but they are showing us some mercy by not putting it on view, and Millais I feel. Not by any means a good later work and one he had all sorts of problems with., but thanks for posting. Of course this repro is not by Millais hand so in itself is interesting.
ages ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
Witty addition [deleted] says:
I just purchased a large engraving of "Yes or No" at an auction. I fell in love with the engraving the moment I saw it. I am searching for more information on its history. The text under the image says " From the original picture by J.E. Millais, RA "the title of the image is hand written
"Yes or No" Would you by any chance have additional info on the history of engravings by Millias. Thank you.
ages ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
I do, Samuel Cousins engraved it. Please see my photostream.
ages ago (permalink)
I have a Little Miss Muffet not sure if its an etching but it does appear to have some pencil signatures. I have had it for many years. I am unsure how authentic it is but do have photos so I wondered if you new of any marked in this way.
At the top it states in print:
London published September 1st 1985 by Thomas Lean or Thomas Mc Leans 7 haymarket.
It has it appears in pencil appisted by Samuel Cousins as a signature and another marking which looks like the same writer marking it J E Millais not in print form. Does this sound familiar?
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
dculver2011 edited this topic ages ago.
I also meant to say it is a large black wood frame with a gold trim on the inside although the back has been tampered with it looks very original as it has an insert inside. Reference Little miss muffet.
ages ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
Please tell me the size of this. Sounds probable that it is by Millais/Cousins
ages ago (permalink)
Hi Martin - its a little difficult as its has a white border on which the signatures appear at the bottom and then the etching its self so here is my best shot - The frame itself which is blank and old when you look at the back and I do not want to pull it apart is 32"x25" so its pretty big.
The etching (if that is it) is surround by a white area and then another area within that that bears the signatures. The white- ish areas do have stains - so if I take the inner white its approx 21.5x15.75 rounding it up and the etching itself is 17 3/4 x 12 1/6.
Thants as close as I get I am not very good at the measuring but its roughly correct. If this is the case above i.e Millais/Cousins
would it be worth anything? I have had it so long I would be happy to know that I was right in bringing it to the US with me when I moved in 2001 and not abandoning it at home. Its hung above my bed for along time.
ages ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
I enquired about these later mezzotints/engravings the other day as I own Pomona (bona fide Millais/Cousins and signed), the chap there said they did not sell so well, ie not as well as say one of his best known and earlier works which could fetch £800-£900 if in good condition. I'd guess if your print is indeed Millais Cousins and not too foxed or damaged it could get £300-£400 but it'd have to be in the right sale and have a buyer who likes the later Millais child paintings.
As a matter of fact I do, but really would not stretch to offer for this one as I have limited space. I do hope that you continue to enjoy it, and if you can get me photos or scans of the signatures so much the better and I can tell you for sure if it is JEM.
ages ago (permalink)
Thanks so much for coming back - I would try to get the pics but I think I need a better camera - I will respond when I have them clearer. Your help is greatly appreciated. I do love the picture so I will be keeping her safe with me.
ages ago (permalink)
I have the same Little Miss Muffet engraving, but I ripped mine out of a really old book that my brother had out in the barn.
I also ripped out another that was called the Waif.
So neat that I googled it and found another picture of the same.
120 months ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
Interestingly The Waif is a painting that I don't know the present whereabouts of, so the engraving is what we have.
119 months ago (permalink)
I have an engraving of Chill October, which I bought some years ago from a shop in Oxford. As with the above post, this also is signed in pencil at the bottom. Seemingly it is signed by Millais on the left, and (?) Debaine on the right. It is in good condition and is framed in my lounge. I was drawn to it by the level of detail in the grasses and foliage, especially in the foreground. I've seen one or two other examples for sale occasionally, but, within the limitations of looking at photos on line, the others seemed to be poorer quality. I expect I paid over the odds for it, and I've never been convinced that Millais's signature is genuine (I've never attempted to verify it). I think after framing I paid about £400 for it, but it has had enduring appeal and is clearly a good example, so I've been very happy with it.
91 months ago (permalink)
Martin Beek says:
Yes it is a lovely painting.and one of the landscapes that was transcribed . You are lucky to have it, I don't think you paid over the odds. Was that from the High in Oxford? I've seen a few by Millais there. I own one signed mezzotint.
90 months ago (permalink)
IHi Martin, I have what I believe to be an engraving of Millais the Cherry Ripe, it looks quite old because of the brown dotted discolouring to the white border and back, the picture itself is in very good condition it measures just over 16 x 23 inches. At the bottom of the picture along the under edge from left to right it says Painted by J E Millais, London Published by Thomas M Lean. Haymarket. T. Agneur & Sons. Manchester and The Fine Art Society Bond Street. Nov 24th !881. Below is the title CHERRY RED, to the left of the title is written 1st Hundred and below the title From the original picture in the collection of Charles Werthersmer. Can you tell if I have a print or engraving and if it has any worth?
89 months ago (permalink)
Martin, I acquired a framed print/engraving of Little Miss Muffet some years ago that has been stored in my attic. I'm interested in repurposing the beautiful frame but have never been able to confirm whether the print is of any value. This particular print says at the bottom, below other detailed information about its engraving and publishing, "From the original picture in the collection of John M Keiller Esq to whom this plate is respectfully dedicated by Thomas M. Lean". What are your thoughts?
89 months ago (permalink)
I also found this information on the Christies website, which mentions Keiller:
Shakespeare's First Folio
The First Folio is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare's plays, collated and published in 1623, seven years after his death. Folio editions were large and expensive books that were seen as prestige items.
Shakespeare wrote around 37 plays, 36 of which are contained in the First Folio. Most of these plays were performed in the Globe, an open-air playhouse in London built on the south bank of the Thames in 1599. As none of Shakespeare's original manuscripts survive (except, possibly, Sir Thomas More, which Shakespeare is believed to have revised a part of) we only know his work from printed editions.
Why is the First Folio so important?
Of the 36 plays in the First Folio, 17 were printed in Shakespeare's lifetime in various good and bad smaller quarto editions, one was printed after his death and 18 had not yet been printed at all. It is this fact that makes the First Folio so important without it, 18 of Shakespeare&rsquos plays, including Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, might never have survived.
The text was collated by two of Shakespeare's fellow actors and friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who edited it and supervised the printing. They appear in a list of the 'Principall Actors' who performed in Shakespeare's plays, alongside Richard Burbage, Will Kemp and Shakespeare himself.
Heminge and Condell divided the plays into comedies, tragedies and histories, an editorial decision that has come to shape our idea of the Shakespearean canon. In order to produce as authoritative a text as possible, they compiled it from the good quartos and from manuscripts (now lost) such as prompt books, authorial fair copy, and foul papers (working drafts). The First Folio offered a corrective to what are now called bad quartos &ndash spurious and corrupt pirate editions, likely based on memorial reconstruction.
What did Shakespeare look like?
The portrait of Shakespeare on the title page was engraved by Martin Droeshout and is one of only two portraits with any claim to authenticity. As Droeshout would have only been 15 when Shakespeare died it is unlikely that they actually met. Instead his picture was probably drawn from the memory of others, or from an earlier portrait. In his admiring verse &lsquoTo the Reader&rsquo at the start of the First Folio, the writer Ben Jonson declares that the engraver achieved a good likeness &ndash he &lsquohit&rsquo or captured Shakespeare&rsquos face well.
Jonson also wrote a poem &lsquoTo the memory&rsquo of Shakespeare, which presents him as the 'Soul of the Age&rsquo, &lsquothe wonder of our stage&rsquo. Jonson generously compares Shakespeare to other playwrights including Christopher Marlowe, who was well-known for the &lsquomighty line&rsquo in his powerful blank verse plays. At the same time, Jonson makes the famous claim that Shakespeare had &lsquosmall Latine, and lesse Greeke &rsquo, suggesting that he was not a good classical scholar.
What&rsquos special about this copy?
This copy is one of only four surviving which contain the engraving in the first state, before Droeshout made improvements to the engraved plate to enhance the appearance of Shakespeare&rsquos forehead and chin, and to add shading. In this version, Shakespeare&rsquos head appears to be floating above his ruff. Because the portrait in this copy is the early version, we know that it was one of the first copies to be printed.
It is estimated that around 750 First Folios were printed, of which 233 are currently known to survive worldwide. The British Library owns five.
Visualizing Shakespeare: A Tale of Two Portraits
Like so many other questions about the life of our greatest literary artist, the answer is “we don’t know.” And like so many of these answers, that they don’t know what he looked like isn’t just an interesting footnote, it’s a major anomaly. When we have good oil portraits for four of the five poets who accompanied Shakespeare into literary glory, playwrights Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe, poets Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh, why not their master? (That there has never been a reliable portrait of the fifth major poet of the period, Edmund Spenser, is probably for the same reason that there hasn’t been a reliable portrait of Shakespeare.)
Jonson and Fletcher
The Ben Jonson portrait happens to be one of the most outstanding paintings from the period. In an unusually free style that looks towards Rembrandt, it was painted in 1617 by Abraham Van Blyenberch, a Flemish artist who also painted more conventional portraits of the teenaged Charles II and Jonson’s patron, the Earl of Pembroke. Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household by 1617, was one of the “grand possessors” responsible for publishing the First Folio. So why no portrait of Shakespeare, Pembroke’s protégé and Ben Jonson’s “idol.”
John Fletcher, unknown artist, c.1620
Playwright John Fletcher, who flourished at the Court of James I, rated two top quality oil portraits, this one in the National Portrait Gallery, the other at Montacute House, both painted around 1620 by unknown (continental) artists. Neither Jonson nor Fletcher were aristocrats, which means that the quality of their portraits is attributable to their status as artists, not to their social importance, as is true of the portrait of his co-author, Francis Beaumont, a member of the nobility, which we’re told now hangs at Knole Park (I couldn’t find a good image of it online). We know it best from the engraving George Vertue made from it decades later.
Christopher Marlowe, unknown artist, c.1585.
Although not of the highest quality, the portrait that has given us an image for playwright Christopher Marlowe may be more important than either of these, as Marlowe ranks closer to Shakespeare in the history of English literature, in time, in style, and in reputation, than either Jonson or Fletcher. The son of a poor Canterbury shoemaker, his brief six-year moment as the protégé of aristocrats did little to contradict the evil reputation created by the government agents who destroyed him. The discovery of his portrait in 1952 by an undergraduate at his Cambridge college, Corpus Christi, who found it in a dumpster filled with trash, is little short of miraculous. The dates in the upper left corner support the identification, and our interpretation of his involvement with the Fisher’s Folly crew and their patrons, since the date on the painting, 1585 was his second year of unexplained absences from college. The splendid set of gold buttons that decorate his jacket would be hard to explain otherwise.
Despite the balloonlike nature of the immense jacket, perhaps a studio intern’s method of filling what space was left by the artist who painted his face, that face, the soulful eyes, most of all the energy and freedom expressed by the shock of upward sweeping hair, together with the quote from Ovid––“that which nourishes me destroys me”––may tell us more about Marlowe the poet-scholar than what scraps remain from his life. That it was paid for by the playwright himself and not a wealthy patron, is suggested by the fact that the hands were left out. Well-painted hands are difficult and time-consuming, so a portrait without them would have been less expensive.
Other literary figures also had their portraits painted. While those of Philip Sidney and John Harington, both courtiers, were related to their social status, poets from a lesser class like Michael Drayton and John Donne had theirs painted too, more than once in fact. We also have oil portraits of the actors who brought Shakespeare’s characters to life: Edward Alleyn, Richard Burbage, John Lowin, William Sly and Nathan Field. So why have we nothing for their author, the man who created the roles that brought them fame and fortune?
Engravings and woodcuts
The 16th century saw steel or copper engravings taking the place in printed publications of the cruder woodcuts of previous centuries. Richard Verstegan’s illustrations of the tortures and executions of English Catholics, published in Antwerp in the 1590s and conveyed into England by an underground Catholic network, are among the earliest. The following century saw the engraved portrait of the author take the place of the elaborate woodcut as frontispiece for their published works, as witness that of George Chapman, playwright, on his translation of Homer (1616) Samuel Daniel on his Civil Wars (1609) or John Florio on his Dictionary (1609).
The painstaking process of creating an engraving requires an original to work from, a portrait or drawing, some of which have survived. With the arrival of skilled artist engravers around the turn of the 18th century, we can be certain, for instance, that George Vertue’s “galleries” of engravings of famous individuals from an earlier time were derived from paintings, since by his time their subjects were long gone.
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that two playwrights of the period, or writers who also wrote a play or two, are commemorated only by woodcut cartoons. This may make sense for Thomas Nashe, for as the satirical Piers Penniless or naughty Jack Wilton of the newborn popular press, Nashe would hardly rate anything more serious, but the absurd cartoon that is all we have for its founder, Robert Greene, is another matter. That England’s first great playwright Shakespeare, first great poet Spenser, and first great novelists Lyly and Nashe, have left no images, reinforces the likelihood that their works were created by artists who, repressed by the Reformation and its suspicion of Art as a tool of the Devil, could not allow themselves to be openly identified with works of the imagination.
The lack of a believable portrait of the nation’s foremost literary artist has been keenly felt. Just as there are a good half dozen candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare’s works, there are upwards of a dozen portraits that have been promoted at one time or another as his image. In 2006 a rising British curator gathered six of these, together with a handful of portraits of other famous persons from the same period, for a travelling exhibit titled Searching for Shakespeare, which I had the good fortune to see at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven CT. Three of the six presented––the Soest, the Sanders, and the Flower––however long their moments in the sun, are no longer worth discussing. That leaves three: the Grafton, the Janssen, and the Chandos––plus the one that got left out.
The Grafton should be more important than ever, not because it’s a portrait of Shakespeare, but because it’s probably another portrait of Christopher Marlowe. (Isabel Gortázar, a Marlovian, has noted the same thing in a 2009 blog.)
L – Grafton (candidate for portrait of Shakespeare) R – Christopher Marlowe
Everything about it fits. The dates that remain in the corners of the painting: “Age 24” and “1588” certainly fit: Marlowe was born in 1564 in 1588 he was 24. In 1588, following his first great success with Tamburlaine, he was at the pinnacle of his career.
The trail of the portrait’s provenance leads to the Earls of Grafton, offspring and descendants of Barbara Villiers, mistress of Charles II during the Restoration of the Crown and Stage, who took also actors as her lovers during a period when Court society was in many ways indistinguishable from the upscale London theater audience. No longer identifiable (perhaps trimmed following Marlowe’s murder and the destruction of his reputation), it could have found its way with other theatrical flotsam to the King’s mistress, or later to her son, ending up in the remote village inn where it was discovered in 1907.
Janssen before bald overpainting removed
The Janssen too needs explaining. Long regarded as the true image of the Bard, it was knocked out of the running in 1947 when infra-red photography revealed that its bald head was due to the same overpainting found on other fakes. Over the years the addition of a bald head to a number of portraits of unknowns, obviously to make them conform in at least the most obvious way to the Droeshout, suggests the increasing intensity of the need to find a suitable image for the great playwright. In 1988 the Folger Shakespeare Library had the overpainting removed, revealing a man with a regular hairline (as in the Cobbe).
Certain features remain, however. Apart from minor details like the exact design on the fabric, the jacket on the Janssen matches almost exactly the form of the jacket on the Droeshout, while the strange collar on the Droeshout is an abstract version of its lace collar.
Several odd things about the Droeshout jacket and collar that questioners have suggested were meant to convey a subliminal message about the identity of the sitter, things like the flat nature of the front of the jacket that some see as two left sleeves, or the unnatural distance between the collar and the subject’s left shoulder so that the collar and head appear to be floating in space. Since these are also true of the Janssen, and were not the result of overpainting, we can forget about a subliminal message, at least not from these oddities, which doubtless have more to do with 17th-century studio practice than with any hidden message.
By now there should be no doubt that the Janssen, and the recently discovered Cobbe portrait, the original of which the Janssen was a copy, were portraits of Sir Thomas Overbury, secretary to the King’s favorite, Robert Carr Earl of Somerset, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household from 1611 to 1615. Why have so many portraits of Overbury turned up? First, though forgotten today by all but historians, Overbury was a very important man in his day. Second, it was standard practise among courtiers to have their portrait painted as a gift for an important patron, from it commissioning copies to be made that could be distributed among persons of lesser importance. But why has it taken so long for the Janssen to be identified? Why wasn’t his name and his age painted in the corners as with other leading personages?
Vain of his own good looks and of his important position as secretary to the Lord Chamberlain, the official who had the King’s ear, Overbury must have had his portrait painted as a gift for some important patron, copies of which would then be distributed among those of lesser importance. In April 1613, having gotten himself involved in a nasty Court intrigue, the King had him thrown in the Tower for insubordination, where he died in September from––as it later turned out––poisoned tarts. His sordid murder and the notorious public scandal that followed would have bereft his portraits of their social value. Those that survived did so by having the standard identifiying marks located near the borders of a painting removed by trimming two or three inches from around its edges.
The Cobbe, clearly the original of which the Janssen and others were copies, turned up in 2006 when its owner saw the Janssen at the In Search of Shakespeare exhibit and recognized it as the twin of a painting he had known since childhood. As a descendant of Charles Cobbe, Archbishop of Dublin from 1743 to 1765, the portrait came to him after passing from Cobbe to its present owner via Cobbe’s mother, a descendent of Sir Thomas Chaloner (1561-1615), the son of Queen Elizabeth’s ambassador. Having been Robert Cecil’s envoy to Scotland during his secret negotiations with King James, Challoner Jr. had thenceforth lived for years in princely style as tutor and chamberlain to the royal heir, Henry, Prince of Wales, the most likely receiver of the original from one of his father’s leading courtiers.
In these early years of his father’s reign, young Henry must have received a number of such portraits as gifts. With his unhappy death in November 1612 while still under Challoner’s care, his longtime tutor and, in effect, his surrogate father, Challoner may very well have inherited the still valuable painting. Then when Challoner too died three years later, murder and scandal having robbed the portrait of its social value, it passed, minus its embarrassing identification, to his son James Challoner, then from him to his daughter Veriana, and from her to her son Charles Cobbe, sometime Archbishop of Dublin. (This seems a much more likely provenance than the one offered on Wikipedia.)
L – the Janssen R – the Cobbe
In any case, it’s clear the Janssen is only one of several surviving copies made from the original. The Cobbe is a much better painting than the Janssen the body is a normal size, the jacket looks like a real jacket––not like the Jack of Spades from the playing deck––and there’s no mysterious gulf dividing the head and collar from the shoulders.
Why the bald head?
One of the questions that has accompanied the question of the Droeshout’s authenticity from the start is: why the bald dome? How, since all these portraits of unknowns were modified by changing an ordinary hairline to that of an egg did this become its chief identifying characteristic? That question is answered by the provenance of the most important of the six portraits from the exhibit, and one of the two that remain as hallmarks of the truth about Shakespeare.
The Chandos is the portrait that, ever since the Janssen acquired its natural hairline in 1988, has been the favored image for representing Shakespeare on book jackets and the internet. Everything about the Chandos, its history as well as the image itself, suggests that it is, in fact, a genuine portrait of William of Stratford. Why then, since it’s been a candidate almost from the beginning, has it taken so long to be accepted? Could the issue be literary snobbery? Is it because the sitter’s ordinary looks and dull expression don’t suggest what we would expect a great writer to look like? After reading a good deal of the discussion surrounding the Chandos, that does seem to be the source of its centuries-old problem.
The Chandos got its name from the aristocrat who owned it for awhile in the 18th century, James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos. That it was painted from life early in the 17th century by the otherwise unknown John (perhaps Joseph) Taylor comes to us via a note from George Vertue, the 18th-century engraver, whose involvement in the chaos surrounding Shakespeare’s image is discussed in a following page. According to Vertue, the portrait passed from Taylor to William Davenant, the play-writing entrepreneur whose love for Shakespeare preserved his plays through the Interregnum. From Davenant it passed to Thomas Betterton, the actor who returned Shakespeare to the stage at the turn of the 18th century. From Betterton it passed to a series of collectors of Shakespeare memorabilia, including the dukes of Chandos, ending with the Earl of Ellesmere, who, in the 1850s, donated it to the recently instituted National Portrait Gallery in London. As its first acquisition, the Gallery labelled it NPG1, an honor it’s held ever since.
The Chandos the true image of William
That the Chandos is a genuine portrait of William of Stratford is reinforced by its likeness to the Droeshout. While the jacket and collar of the Droeshout reflect the Janssen, a number of art historians see its face as derived from the Chandos.
Comparison between Droeshout and Chandos. Here the Chandos face has been fitted into the space allowed by the Droeshout.
Although somewhat elongated, and with a higher (more noble?) forehead, the facial features of the Droeshout match in size, shape, placement (and utter lack of expression) those of the Chandos. Most notable is the general shape of its hair. What seems most likely is that the engraver, Martin Droeshout, was presented by the Earl of Pembroke and/or John Hemmings, patron and manager of the King’s Men, with both portraits, and asked to make a composite of the two. Both would certainly have been available to them, the one through Davenant, the other one of the copies of the original, the Cobbe, that had been floating around since the death of Overbury and the 1615 disgrace of his patron.
But why, if the Droeshout was a makeshift, did the engraver choose to give it the bald dome fringed by the roll of black hair that has become the basis for the public’s idea of Shakespeare’s face? With the Chandos as the source of the Droeshout image, that problem is solved. The Chandos has had its hard times, as its fragile backing attests, and although retouched, never so much as to erase its original appearance, nor was its bald head and black hair a later addition. So, as the First Folio was aimed to reflect, however obliquely, William of Stratford as the author via its mention of a “Stratford monument” and the “Swan of Avon,” so the engraved frontispiece would reflect at least this one characteristic to satisfy those who may have known William personally.
Of course this begs the question: “Why not just make an engraving of the Chandos? If William was the true author, and the painting was of William, why create this strange amalgam for the frontispiece of his collected works?” This of course is another one of those questions that, to keep one’s academic standing comfortably secure, must never be asked! Instead, Martin Droeshout must be incompetent the Chandos must be of someone else the face in the Cobbe is much better looking––anything but the truth, so help me Birthplace Trust!
And while the strange jacket and collar of the Droeshout can be explained by the Janssen, the heavy black lines that define the edges of the jaw and collar, lines of a sort that the engraver did not use anywhere else in the portrait, lines that questioners claim make the face look like a mask, cannot be explained by either portrait. Of course the composite was required because William was NOT the true author, and the face that slightly resembled his and no one else’s on the face of the earth, was indeed a mask, as Droeshout and his clients––the King’s Men and their patrons, the Pembrokes––felt must be communicated to another small but powerful interest group, those who knew the truth about the authorship because they knew, or their parents had known, the author himself.
“Palpable lies, damned lies, lies as big as one of the Guards’ chines of beef”
That Vertue named Davenant as the painting’s owner also points to William of Stratford, since Davenant, whose claim to be William’s illegitimate son has, like his father’s portrait, been treated with scorn by the Academy, and doubtless for the same reason, sheer snobbery. Dates, location and contemporary report all provide sufficient evidence that Davenant was telling the truth about his parentage, and none that he wasn’t. Davenant wasn’t lying about his true relationship to William of Stratford (he’s usually referred to as his godson), nor were those who later maintained it, among them near contemporary Oxford natives like John Aubrey and Anthony á Wood.
The lie is not that William Davenant was William of Stratford’s son––the lie is that William of Stratford was the author of the Shakespeare canon. One big lie will spawn scores, hundreds, in Shakespeare’s case, billions of others. Thus any discussion of efforts to provide the world with an acceptible portrait of the evasive genius must include the dozens of altered copies and obvious fakes. Inevitably, when either the Droeshout or the Chandos is the basis of the copy, there’s an obvious effort by the copier, more successful with some, less with others, to make him seem a little more intelligent, a little better looking. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on one’s point of view, the Chandos remains the unaffected transmitter of an important piece of the truth about Shakespeare: it tells us what his standin looked like.
Finally we come to the most important portrait of all, the one that got left out of the official travelling show, the one that, while it can now be seen in the Founders Room at the Folger Shakespeare Library, remains officially buried in their category of altered copies and fakes. This is the portrait known as the Ashbourne, after the town in Derbyshire where it was “discovered” in 1847 by one Dr. Marion Spielmann, the first to peg it as a possible portrait of Shakespeare. Despite the subject’s nobleman’s attire, his bald dome made him enough of a contender for the true image of Shakespeare that, after a meandering provenance from one purchaser to another, it ended up in 1931 at the Folger, taking much the same place there as did the Chandos at the British NPG, the Folger opening for the first time the following year. Little did they know at the time what a can of worms this particular acquisition would soon become.
In 1938, an experienced documentary filmmaker and sometime art historian, Charles Wisner Barrell, got permission from the Folger’s first and most prestigious director, Joseph Quincy Adams, to use Eastman Kodak’s recently developed infra-red photography to examine the Ashbourne, the Janssen, and a third bald contender, to see what if anything lay beneath their painted surfaces. As Barrell relates in an article published in Scientific American in January 1940, the infra-red photographs revealed overpainting on all three, all from “some remote period,”which, whatever other changes were included, was chiefly intended to turn the sitter’s original hairline into the bald head that, thanks to the Droeshout engraving, was the Bard’s most recognizable feature.
This would have been significant enough as the means for dismissing all three as genuine portraits of Shakespeare had not Barrell seen enough in the Ashbourne to switch his focus to its status as a portrait of the Earl of Oxford. For just as the Grafton looks like an older Marlowe, so the Ashbourne looks like an older Oxford than the one portrayed by the Welbeck, painted when he was twenty-five.
When Director Adams agreed to allow Barrell to make his photographs, was he aware that Barrell’s other great interest was the authorship question? By the late 1930s, efforts by Looney, B.M. Ward and others had succeeded in establishing Oxford as a leading contender for Shakespeare’s laurel crown. A confirmed Oxfordian, by the time Barrell got permission from the Folger he was already aware of the similarities between the Ashbourne and the Welbeck, the one portrait of Oxford that no one has ever questioned.
L – the Welbeck R – the Ashbourne, with the hairline restored by Photoshop
So Barrell’s purpose, perhaps kept to himself while taking pictures of the portraits, must have been less of the Ashbourne’s status as a source of the Droeshout than of its identity as a portrait of Oxford. It’s unlikely that anyone else would have seen, via the infra-red penetration of the painting’s surface, what Barrell recognized as the coat of arms of the Trentham family, into which Oxford was married in 1592.
Why did the Folger attack the Ashbourne?
Here’s where the story gets weird, for with the bald dome eliminated, there is no firm connection between the Ashbourne and Shakespeare. Objects like the skull, a symbol of philosophy, or the book which could have been about anything, were often found in other portraits of the time. As for the individual who, probably at some point in the early 18th century had noticed the portrait of an unknown but attractive subject from the Shakespeare period and had it retouched to look like what everyone thought Shakespeare should look like so he could make a profit by selling it, it’s unlikely that such a one could have had any notion that it was a painting of the Earl of Oxford or even if he did, that Oxford would someday be touted as the true author. For all Charles Barrell had actually proved was that the portrait was of Oxford––not that Oxford was Shakespeare.
Then why has the Folger engaged in a half century of the worst kind of dirty tricks to prove, not that the Ashbourne isn’t Shakespeare, but that it isn’t the Earl of Oxford? Why have they often made it difficult for the public to see it? Why have they come close to destroying it through their criminal negligence and the ruinous alterations ordered by past directors? Why have they gone to such extremes, first to prove that it isn’t Oxford, and then, when that failed, to find someone else they can pin it on, ending finally with Hugh Hammersley, a later mayor of London, an absurd identification, easily dismissed by anyone with two eyes and a smattering of history.
As authorship scholar Jeremy Crick notes in his 2007 article in the De Vere Society Newsletter, despite having retracted all claims that the Ashbourne portrays Shakespeare:
Yet still the Folger refuses to allow the ridiculous overpainted forehead on the painting to be removed––even though they know that the only proven protrait of Sir Hugh Hamersley, in the Haberdasher’s Hall in London, depicts him as an older man with a full head of hair. . . . Can there be any reason why the Folger would want to hold on to a painting of a minor Jacobean knight with no connection to literature?” (35)
Crick goes on to suggest that the Folger is hedging its bets in case Oxford triumphs and the Ashbourne turns out to be of immense value. Doubtless should that point ever be reached, the original hairline will be restored to its original state in record time, if by now such a restoration is even possible.
I’ve room here only for this brief outline of this distressing history, but those who are interested in the details will find links to the full story as revealed by authorship scholar Barbara Burris and a determined team of editors and supporters. Hopefully we haven’t yet heard the last of this facet of the search for Shakespeare.
Engraved Portrait of Macbeth Macfinlay - History
An assortment of separate editions of Macbeth with extracts from other publicationss, mostly relating to specific productions of the play.
The lyrics for &lsquoLet’s have a dance upon the heath&rsquo, one of the songs in Davenant’s Macbeth, included in a collection of popular songs printed for Samuel Speed in 1669 (Wing N529).
There are two later editions of this book, published in 1671 and 1681 (Wing N530&ndash1), and the lyrics can be found there too, with just slight variations.
A quarto edition printed for William Cademan in 1673 (Wing S2929). The title-page is disingenuous: this is not the play that was being performed at the Duke’s Theatre. The text was copied from the &lsquoFirst Folio&rsquo edition the only original elements are a list of the cast and lyrics for some of the songs. (I do not know whether the bookseller William Cademan was related to the actor Philip Cademan (who played Donalbain in this production).)
A quarto edition printed for Philip Chetwin in 1674 (Wing S2930). This is the first edition of Sir William Davenant’s adaptation of Macbeth. It seems to have been produced in a hurry (the work was distributed among three compositors), and numerous mistakes &ndash some silly, some obvious, some both &ndash were allowed to go uncorrected. Subsequent editions are all derived from this one, and most of its errors persist. (This is the quarto used by Furness (1873).) Some copies have a different title-page (Wing S2930A).
Chetwin’s quarto edition reprinted for Andrew Clark in 1674 (Wing S2931).
A farce staged by the King’s Men, printed in 1674 (Wing D2446). I reproduce only the so-called &lsquoEpilogue&rsquo, a spoof of the witch scenes in Macbeth as they were being performed at the Duke’s Theatre. The jokes have mostly lost their point, but some are still amusing. (&lsquoBy the itching of my bum&rsquo has to be worth a smile.)
Clark’s quarto edition of Davenant’s Macbeth reprinted for Henry Herringman in 1687 (Wing S2932). I reproduce only the title-page. (This is the quarto used by Maidment and Logan (1874.).) Some copies have different title-pages (Wing S2933&ndash4).
Herringman’s quarto edition of Davenant’s Macbeth reprinted for him and Richard Bentley in 1695 (Wing S2935)). I reproduce only the title-page
Herringman and Bentley’s quarto edition of Davenant’s Macbeth reprinted for Jacob Tonson in 1710. This is the only edition which shows any sign of having been checked against a manuscript, presumably the prompt-book. (I have marked all the differences between this and the Chetwin quarto which might be thought significant: if the change was made in one of the intervening editions, I have given the date.) Nevertheless, numerous errors remain. (Macbeth is still &lsquothis Dire Friend of Scotland&rsquo (page 44), just as he was in 1674.)
In this slightly revised form, Davenant’s Macbeth was reprinted more than once &ndash most recently, it seems, in Edinburgh in 1731, &lsquoas it is now Acted at the New Theatre&rsquo.) In London by that time, if one had gone into a bookshop and asked for a copy of Macbeth, one would probably have been offered a copy of Shakespeare’s play. But Davenant’s Macbeth continued to be performed, at least until the 1760s.
A 12mo edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth published by Jacob Tonson (the younger) in 1729, reprinted from the 12mo reprint of Pope’s edition (1728). This is the first separate edition of the play &ndash the first, at least, of which copies are known to survive. It is not of any interest in any other respect. I reproduce only the title-page.
A 12mo edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth published by Tonson in 1734. The text of the play is taken from Theobald’s edition: that is not of any interest. At the back, however, there are four unnumbered pages giving the lyrics of the songs, &lsquonever printed in any of the former editions&rsquo, as they were being performed in Davenant’s Macbeth. I reproduce only the title-page and the songs.
Also in 1734, a 12mo edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (as edited by Pope) was printed by Robert Walker, in defiance of the monopoly claimed by Tonson and his associates. At the back, just as in Tonson’s edition, there are four unnumbered pages giving the lyrics of the songs. I assume that Walker stole them from Tonson, rather than vice versa, but I am not certain of that.
Further 12mo editions, substantially the same as the one printed for Tonson in 1734, were published in 1745, 1750, 1755, and at intervals after that. (To judge from the title and pagination, a 12mo edition printed for William Bowen in 1776 would seem to be the last in the series, but I have not seen it for myself.)
The first edition of the music for Macbeth, published by John Johnston in 1770. (The date was determined by Moore (1961:27).) I reproduce the title-page and the dedication to Garrick the music itself I have reproduced as a collection of MIDI files (plus a songsheet).
An edition of the play as it was being performed at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, with David Garrick as Macbeth and Ann Barry as Lady Macbeth.
Despite being much too old for the part, Charles Macklin insisted on starring in his own production of Macbeth at Covent Garden in October 1773. The script, I assume, was much the same as that being used by Garrick at Drury Lane (Bell 1773): where Macklin found scope for originality was in the staging of the play. Costumes, scenery, incidental music &ndash all were designed to evoke a romantic idea of Scottishness. Even though there were only four performances of it (Genest 1832:414&ndash15), this production exerted a powerful influence. Within thirty years, it had become the regular practice, &lsquonot only on the London boards, but in all the provincial and country Theatres&rsquo, for Macbeth to be made to look (and sound) distinctively Scottish.
This file is an account of Macklin’s production written long after the event by William Cooke. It appeared first, in April 1801, in one of a series of articles published in the European Magazine between November 1799 and March 1802 when those articles were turned into a book, this passage appeared there too (Cooke 1804:281&ndash6). (A few small adjustments were made to the wording, but they are not of any significance. Like the articles, the book was published anonymously, but its authorship was never a mystery.) Cooke is one year wrong about the date, but in other respects, I take it, he is accurate enough.
Another printing of Bell’s edition, differing in many details from the first. As far as the text is concerned, there is only one large discrepancy: two lines omitted in 1773 have been reinstated here (&lsquoknow That it was he &hellip so under fortune&rsquo).
A 12mo edition published by a consortium of London booksellers in 1785. Abnormally for an acting edition, it gives the entire text (with the words of the songs spliced in at the proper places), using inverted commas to cancel the passages which are &lsquoomitted in the Representation at the Theatre&rsquo. (The only copy which I have seen lacks the last page and has some other blemishes but these defects do not prevent it from being useful.)
Another 12mo edition published in 1785 &ndash &lsquoPrinted for the Proprietors, and sold by R(achael) Randall&rsquo &ndash seems to have been reprinted from this one: it omits the cancelled passages, but in every other respect is almost identical with it.
An edition of the play as it was performed at the opening of the new Theatre Royal in Drury Lane on 21 April 1794, with John Philip Kemble as Macbeth and Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth. Famously, this is the production in which Banquo’s Ghost became invisible to the audience (in the banquet scene, not in the cauldron scene). It is notable too that the lords bring their ladies to the banquet. All in all, Kemble’s adaptation is a very thoughtful piece of work: one can learn a lot about the play by asking why Kemble made the changes that he did.
A good-looking 6mo edition printed for the firm of Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme. One of a collection of matching booklets, 125 in all, published separately, but with the idea that they would eventually be bound up together to make a set of 25 volumes, under the overall title &lsquoThe British theatre&rsquo. (When that happened, Macbeth became the third item in volume 4.) Like the other booklets, it has an angraved frontispiece (&lsquoPainted by Cook. / Engrav’d by Raimbach. / Publish’d by Longman & Co. 1806&rsquo) and a short introduction by Elizabeth Inchbald. The script is basically the same as in Kemble’s edition, but there are numerous differences in detail. Banquo’s Ghost reappears in the banquet scene &ndash just once, however, not twice.
A sumptuous production of Macbeth starring Edmund Kean and Sarah Bartley was premiered at Drury Lane on Saturday 5 Nov. 1814. I have not seen the souvenir edition cited by Jaggard (1911:384): Macbeth . Revived at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, November, 1814, under the superintendence of S. J. Arnold (London, 1814). This file contains transcripts of (1) the original playbill (2) a review in the Morning Chronicle and (3) an extract from the memoirs of the musical director, Michael Kelly.
A 12mo edition printed by William Oxberry in 1821. Published separately, but also as part of a 20-volume collection called &lsquoThe new English drama&rsquo. (Macbeth is the second item in volume 14.) As with Longman’s edition, there is an engraved frontispiece (&lsquoMr. Macready, as Macbeth. / Engraved by W. Coutts from an original painting by Clint. / Published 1821 . &rsquo) and a short introduction, supplied in this case by George Soane. There are numerous footnotes as well but they are not of any usefulness that I can see, and I have omitted them all.
An edition of the play as it was staged by Charles Kean at the Princess’s Theatre in 1853. I have omitted all the annotation, with the exception of four footnotes which are in a category by themselves: they mark the places where Kean had swallowed some of the spurious emendations concocted by John Payne Collier.
An edition of the play as it was staged by Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre in 1888, with music specially composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
There exists at least one other impression of this booklet, dated 1889. Much of it is identical but some further cuts are made, and the pagination differs in places for that reason.
The &lsquoHenry Irving Shakespeare&rsquo was published in eight volumes between 1888 and 1890. It was mainly edited by Francis Albert (&lsquoFrank A.&rsquo) Marshall. Irving lent his name and moral support his only editorial contribution was to look through the proofs and cancel the passages which he thought should be omitted in performance. Towards the end, Marshall’s health began to fail (in fact he died before the last volume was published), and other editors had to help out. Macbeth was dealt with by Arthur Symons. This is his edition, minus the introduction and annotation. The passages cancelled by Irving are roughly &ndash only roughly &ndash the same as those omitted from the script of his acting edition.
An edition of the play as it was staged by Johnston Forbes Robertson at the Lyceum Theatre in 1898. There are two versions of this booklet, with or without illustrations. The illustrated version has five photographic portraits: two of Forbes Robertson as Macbeth, two of Mrs Patrick Campbell as Lady Macbeth, one of Robert Taber as Macduff.
Engraved Portrait of Macbeth Macfinlay - History
From Shakespeare's patrons & other essays by Henry Brown. London: J. M. Dent & sons.
King James I was a great admirer of poetry and the drama from his earliest days, and later in life he appears chiefly to have regarded and favoured dramatic art. He had been tutored by the celebrated George Buchanan and had well profited by his instructions he was one of Scotland's greatest poets, and had produced political and religious works, and also poems and dramas. Under this famous scholar he made great progress in learning. It has been usual to ridicule the weaknesses of this king, but he had his nobler qualities, that far outweighed his foibles and weakness. Lord Bacon thought highly of his judgment. Mr. D'Israeli gives the character of the King: "He was called a pedant, but," says he, "he was no more a pedant than the ablest of his contemporaries, nor abhorred the taste of tobacco, nor feared witches, more than they did: he was a great wit, a most acute disputant," &c. 1
Queen Elizabeth, probably to gain the friendship on a particular occasion, sent in 1589 a select company of players to the Scotch capital, and they appear to have paid a previous visit to Scotland, as we find "The King at a sumptuous banquet prepared by the Earl of Arran at Direleton, after a Council held there divers of the nobility and gentry passed the time right pleasantly with the play of Robin Hood." 2
The names of only two of the players sent by the Queen are known, Fletcher and Martin they were probably both managers of the company. Fletcher was the head, and he seems quickly to have won great favour with the King, and on his return to England suffered some ill-treatment for some service and for special favour he had received from the King. And we learn from the State papers under date March 22, 1595, Edinburgh, George Nicholson to Mr. Bowes &mdash the English Ambassador, among other news, says that "The King heard that Fletcher, the player, was hanged, and told him and Roger Aston so, in merry words, not believing it, saying very pleasantly that if it were true he would hang them also." 3
Roger Aston was a gentleman residing at the Scottish Court, a correspondent to Sir Robert Cecil of affairs at the Court of King James. Whatever was Fletcher's fault, he was soon in favour again with the English ministers.
In 1599, Fletcher and Martin were sent for by the King, and Elizabeth sent them with a company of comedians on a visit to Edinburgh in November of that year. The King was greatly pleased with them, and they received from him warrant to act in public, and defended them against the Kirk Sessions, who were denouncing them, and who sought to silence them, but the King forbade and overruled this insult to the actors and the drama. The State papers say of this transaction, in a letter dated Edinburgh, November 12, 1599, George Nicholson to Sir Robert Cecil: "Performance of English players, Fletcher, Martin, and their Company, by the King's permission enactment of the Town Sessions, and preaching of the ministers against them. The bellows blowers say that they are sent by England to sow dissension between the King and the Kirk." These papers also contain the King's full proclamation on the subject, the players were neither to suffer restraint nor censure. 4 These players were held by some at the time to be vile fellows unworthy of any honourable person's regard, but the King would not hear of their being slandered, and gave them the highest possible honour. The company of English actors were in Scotland from Oct. 1599 to Dec. 1601, and Laurence Fletcher received the freedom of the city of Aberdeen on Oct, 22, 1601, as "Comedian to his Majesty."
It has long been supposed that Shakespeare visited Scotland at this time as one of the company of players no proof, however, have come down to us, and it is not probable that as an occasional actor, as Shakespeare was, he should have been enrolled in the company. It would perhaps be nearer the mark to suppose that the poet between 1599 and 1600 paid a visit to Scotland professional interests might induce him to take some of his latest MS. plays to be performed before the Scotch Court by the company of players to which he belonged. Shakespeare probably, like many in the Court of Elizabeth at this time, had his eye upon King James as the successor to the throne of England, and by this means may have prepared the way for his regard and favour. And the poet seems to have been absent from London late in 1599 to sometime in 1600, perhaps for about nine months of this lengthened absence from the metropolis at this period there appears several indications, as also of his having visited Scotland. But three short years and "the spacious times of great Elizabeth" were over, and King James ascended the throne of England, and one of his first acts was to favour the drama. The good estate and position of the players were at once regarded Laurence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, and others, on May 17, 1603, but a few days after the King's arrival in London, by letters patent under the great seal, were granted a licence to perform in London at the Globe theatre, and in the provinces at town-halls, and other suitable buildings. The company were now styled the King's players.
The far-seeing poet doubtless quickly added to his praise of Elizabeth the vista of newly and more widely extending glories of the reign of her successor, and in King Henry VIII, Act V., Sc.iv., he appends to his sketch of Elizabeth's reign, when paying that noble tribute to her life and death which we have noticed, and in reference to the blessed times of peace and prosperity enjoyed in her reign, he quickly foresaw the like happiness would be extended onward in the reign of King James I. He says of the new King:
The King during his first regular progress through his new kingdom after leaving the city of Salisbury on August 26, 1603, was, with the royal party entertained on the 29th and 30th of the same month at Wilton, the noble seat of William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, and on the 6th October the King and Queen were again at Wilton, and at this noble mansion they stayed several weeks. And on the 2nd December the King and Court were again at the seat of the Earl of Pembroke witnessing a theatrical performance by the company of players to which Shakespeare belonged, and again during the Christmas holidays the same company gave several performances before the Royal party at Hampton Court.
The list of plays they performed has unhappily not been preserved. There is little doubt but that Shakespeare was with his company at Wilton on some of these highly important occasions, if not on all, and that the King first noticed the poet on this occasion, even if he had not already become acquainted with him in Scotland and the famous "Amicable Letter" which on good authority, we are told, was written by the King to Shakespeare, may have been in reference to his desire to see a play written by him upon the subject of Macbeth. This play was produced we may well suppose upon receipt of the letter and in haste for a special Court performance. The King was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1604, and the play may well be assigned to the first year of his coronation. If not in Scotland, at Wilton and elsewhere the King was already acquainted with Shakespeare, and the position he held and the company to which he belonged. The new monarch it should be remembered was a descendant of Banquo this the poet has kept in his mind's eye &mdash
A great change had come over the country, "the old order passeth away and giveth place unto the new." It was like a new world, if we glance back to 1567, when Queen Elizabeth gave order to the Bishop of London to find how many Scotsmen were in the metropolis, and we are told by Dr. Robertson there were but fifty-eight &mdash now they came in streams following the King. This evoked much banter and sarcasm amongst the wits, dramatists, and actors of the day, several of them openly showing their dislike by satirizing the King, his Court, and countrymen they failed to see the benefit that would arise from the union of the kingdoms. Shakespeare appears most fully and clearly to have seen it, and heralded the advent, as we have seen, by a full tribute of gratulation and praise.
That King James would be very likely to suggest the play of Macbeth is highly possible. George Buchanan, who, as before observed, had been preceptor to the King in his "History of Scotland," published in Edinburgh in 1582, states in the 7th book that the history of Macbeth was well adapted for the stage, "Multa hie fabulose quidam nostrorum affingunt sed quia theatris aut Milesies fabulis sunt aptiora quam historiae, ea omitto." And the King himself had written his famous work, "Demonology," in 1597, relating to witchcraft and demoniacal possessions. Viewed in this light the poet had several objects in view in producing his Macbeth at this juncture, and moulding it, though roughly, yet in weighty and attractive metal a masterpiece of skill and power.
In the play Measure for Measure, written in 1604, a passage appears to refer to the proclamation of the Scottish King on his accession to the throne of England, forbidding the populace to assemble to meet him on his entry to his new kingdom, a proceeding on the part of the people both of Scotland and of England of which he soon grew weary, and told the people how greatly he disapproved of it. The poet notes the mood of the King &mdash
Some lines attributed to Shakespeare on King James have been handed down in old MS. collections as early as the time of Charles I, but it does not seem to be known upon what occasion they first appeared they have always, however, been assigned to our poet in every collection in which they are preserved. Their first appearance in print we now find was under a very rare engraved portrait of King James I, published about the year 1610, The various MS. style them alike as &mdash
It is not a little remarkable that this King was also in close connection from this time onward to the last with both of Shakespeare's patrons the special honours the King at once bestowed upon the Earl of Southampton, after granting his immediate release from imprisonment in the Tower, and the various other signal favours granted later in life, both to him and to William Earl of Pembroke, reveal the fact that he at once regarded Southampton with a favourable eye, and at the same time exhibited a devoted regard for Pembroke, whom he also favoured highly but with a more constant favour and more attached and friendly regard, as he ever after retained the latter in office or at the Court in what appears to have been a bond of most sympathetic friendship. He was evidently attracted at once by the merits of both these lords, and in every way he could, expressed his admiration for them by conferring honours upon them upon several important occasions. His love for Pembroke, however, was far more constant and uniform, but he retained it would appear to the last also a regard, if not adoration, for Southampton Pembroke, however, was his assured friend, confidant, and counsellor.
King James remained an admirer of the drama all his life, and on many occasions witnessed the plays of Shakespeare at various performances at Court, and his plays doubtless added joy and brightness to the festivities of many a passing hour and the Court, upon our poet's retirement to his native town, missed the great luminary amongst men, though they had to abide the fate of the hour the poet doubtless needed rest and peace, and the pleasurable and constant circle of his family and friends. However that may be, we find that on December 31, 1614, Mr. Chamberlain, in a letter to Sir Dudley Carleton, says &mdash
The London play-goers nor the Court of King James knew not fully the great light that was passing away the poet's patron, the Earl of Pembroke, appears to have seen that light clearest and followed it closest, but its full glory was not possible to discover till after the publication of the first folio, seven years after Shakespeare's death. Yet, as we have seen, King James had welcomed the poet and beheld with pleasure his plays, and Ben Jonson in his poetical tribute to Shakespeare, prefixed to the folio of 1623, speaks of the delight Elizabeth and James took in witnessing the plays of Shakespeare &mdash
1: "Calamities of Authors," vol. ii p. 245.
2: Reg. Com. Scot., May 5, 1585.
3: Cal. St. Pap., Scottish Series, by M. J. T., vol. 2, p. 676.
4: Cal. St. Pap., Scottish Series, vol. 2, pp. 777-8.
How to cite this article:
Brown, Henry. Shakespeare's patrons & other essays. London: J. M. Dent & sons, 1912. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) .
Engraved Portrait of Macbeth Macfinlay - History
♦ 3 May: John Clarke, son of Robert Clarke late of the parish of Stepney old Stebenheath, Middlesex, mariner deceased. Bound to Ralph Snow.
[Stationers' Company Archives, Apprentice Register Vol. II, 7 Aug 1666 - 6 Mar 1728, f. 293]
♦ 11 May: Marriage of William Cooper to Elizabeth Smith, London.
♦ ?: Birth of Elizabeth Smith. See 1720.
♦ 10 October: Marriage of Henry Sell to Mary Smith, London
♦ 26 October [Sunday]: Birth of Richard Cooper to William Cooper, bricklayer and citizen of London and his wife, Elizabeth Smith. Born and christened at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. [ FamilySearch: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J38X-R55. Francis J. Grant: Index to the Burials in the Churchyard of Restalrig, 1728-1854 Edinburgh  p. 15. ‘Mr Richard Couper, engraver, 23rd January 1764, aged 67’. This must be a misreading for 'aged 63'. ]
♦ 12 June: Birth of William Cooper to William and Elizabeth, as 1701. He died on 2 July 1717. [ FamilySearch: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NPL9-N8P ]
♦ William Cooper, bricklayer Henry Sell carpenter and John Dean[e] (d. 1705/6), mason sign the contract to build Cole Green house in Herefordshire for William Cowper of the Temple (later 1st Lord Cowper and the first Lord Chancellor).
♦ Engraved, portrait of Allan Ramsay senior [1684-1758], pm 13.8 x 8.1 cms. Published in second subscriber's edition of his Poems, Vol. II, Edinburgh . Inscribed 'R. Cooper ad Vivum Sculpsit Edinr.'
♦ 'Mr. Richard Cooper, engraver' subscribed to two copies of Samuel Boyse: Translations and Poems Edinburgh . May have engraved the arms of Susanna, Countess of Eglinton, as part of Dedication. [One of the translations is a description of a piece of Classical art [a painted? basso relievo] attributed, at the time to Cebes – The Tablature of Cebes the Theban, a Platonic Philosopher. (Being an allegorical picture of human life). The description is now thought to be later. See Sir Paul Harvey: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature Oxford  p. 96. Cebes description of the Corycian cave would have appealed to Cooper who later purchased a house in Restalrig, of a similar description. “It was a cave (or rather a small valley) situated near the sea-side open to the south and surrounded with inaccessible rocks towards the land. It was watered by a fine spring and very fruitful, being remarkable for producing the best kind of Saffron”. Susanna [d.1780] was the third wife of Alexander, 9th Earl of Eglinton [c.1654-1729]. The Earls of Eglinton were to become related to Cooper on his marriage to Ann Lind in 1738. See also 1750 fn.]
♦ Appears for the first time in accounts of Edinburgh Musical Society, 1731-2, 16s 6d [£65.27]. [Minutes of the Edinburgh Musical Society [hereafter EMS], Vol. 1. p. 27. The amount suggests a payment for ticket printing and in the 1733/4 accounts an amount of £7.10.0 [£607.70] is recorded for ‘a new copper-plate ticket from London’. This plate, an invitation to the directors meetings was etched by Gerard Van der Gucht from a design by William Hogarth. See Joe Rock, Martin Hillman and Antonia J. Bunch The Temple of Harmony (Edinburgh, Friends of St. Cecilia's Hall 2011) p. 15].
♦ Engraved, Plan of Loch Sunart after Alexander Bruce[ ]. Dedicated to His Excellence, George Wade, Lieutenant General & Commander in Chief to His Majesty’s Forces in North Britain. [Op. Cit. Gough  Vol II p. 655].
♦ Engravings after his own drawings and of anatomical drawings by William Robertson or Robinson, published in the Medical Essays and Observations, frequently, until 1744 when publication ceased. [A Society Of Gentlemen: The Medical Essays and Observations 5 vols. Edinburgh [1733-1744]. Second Edition 5 vols. [1737-1747], Third Edition 5 vols. . Also an abridged, London edition by William Lewis, 2 vols. . Editions were also published in Dutch, German and French with plates copied from those by Cooper].
♦ Visited by James West, Fellow of Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. [Alscot Park, Warwickshire. MSS Journal of a Tour to Scotland in 1733].
? June. Took [Sir] Robert Strange [1721-1792] as apprentice. Strange probably left Cooper’s service in June 1738 to go home to Orkney, returning in October. Probably completed his apprenticeship in June 1742. [Op. Cit. Dennistoun  Vol. I, pp. 21-39 and 242. See also letter from Strange to William Balfour of Trenaby, Kirkwall dated 9 March 1742. Orkney Archive, D2/26/3. Strange refers to asking Cooper about his 'drawing and painting' and how he must apply himself when he does begin or 'my time (if not speedily begun) will be too short'].
♦ 23 March. Received payment from Edinburgh Town Council for unspecified account. [ECA. Minutes of ETC Vol. 57 p. 226, 23 March 1737].
♦ 27 June: Richard Cooper pursues the sequestration of the property of Edward Miller, comedian for unpaid rent for a house in Dicksons Close, the contract signed on 25 October 1736. Miller's spouse was served with a summons by Andrew Hay, [Cooper's man of business] on this date but he did not appear and Cooper was granted the contents of his house to be held as security for the rent, at 8 o'clock on the same day. There is an inventory of the furniture in the bedroom, kitchen, dining room and the south upper room and two closets. This includes 20 small pictures in the bedroom fifteen little paper pictures in flush frames in the dining room and 'three pictures in flush frames, one of them Alan Ramsay's, Eight paper pictures and [--] more want frames' in the south upper room. [ECA, Baillie Court records Box 97 bundle 234. With thanks to William Fortescue for this reference]
♦ Or shortly after 1737. Designed and engraved an alabaster ledger slab monument to Alexander Bayne, Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University. The monument is in St. Michael’s Parish Church, Alnwick where Bayne died, in May of this year, on his way to Bath. [The monumental slab incorporates a portrait of Bayne engraved on copper, imitating a Classical medallion. This is the copper plate, presumably by Cooper, for a half sheet circular mezzotint portrait of Bayne, offered in the Brindley sale, 7th May 1819, Lot. 516. Op. Cit. Chaloner Smith  Vol. IV, p. 1718. The print is now in the NPG, London. The alabaster slab although now mounted on the wall, is in the tradition of mainly 14th and 15th century engraved ledger slabs in English churches. There is a very rare signed example in Pitchford church in Shropshire inscribed "drawn and graven by John Tarbrook of Be]udly carver Anno 1587"].
♦ Engraved in mezzotint, Portrait of Alexander Bayne. Unpublished, unique print in National Portrait Gallery, London. Copper plate mounted in the Bayne tomb at Alnwick.
♦ Engraved, A Map of West Lothian, after John Adair. “Dedicated to John. Earl of Stair, Viscount Dalrymple, Lord Glenluce and Stranraer, Lt. Gen of his Majesty’s Forces”.
♦ Engraved and printed for Charles McLean: 12 Sonatas for Violin and Violincello Edinburgh  pm 28.8 x 41.4 cms. [Op. Cit. Johnstone  p. 195. Also William Stenhouse: Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland Edinburgh . Appendix to the Introduction by David Laing, p. xcii-iii].
♦ Engraved, A Map of the Forrest of Mamlorne after David Dorvie. [From a survey carried out by David Dorvie, conform to a warrant of the Court of Session, dated 31 July 1735].
♦ Engraved for Charles MacLean, Twelve Solos or Sonatas for a Violin and Violoncello, with a Thorough Bass for the Harpsicord. "Twelve Solos or Sonatas for a Violin and Violoncello, with a Thorough Bass for the Harpsicord. Dedicated to the Honourable the Governor and Members of the Musical Society. Composed by Charles Macklean. Edinburgh, printed by R. Cooper for the Author, and sold by him and Mr And. Martin, bookseller in the Parliament Gloss, 1737." This title, within a narrow engraved border, is followed by a list of Subscribers. Folio, pp. 46. [James Johnson and others: The Scots Musical Museum Vol. 1 New edition, Edinburgh  p. 85].
? Engraved, portrait of Sir Walter Pringle of Newhall [1664?-1736] [SNPG, PG 2174] , after Andrew Allan [fl.1711-1739], pm c.37.4 x 24.3 cms. Raised to the bench as Lord Newhall in 1718. [Plate mark, 74.3 x 61.2cms. Andrew Allan is possibly the artist who appears alongside Cooper in the Minutes of the Edinburgh Musical Socciety in this year. He may be the “Mr. Allen” listed as a member of the Great Queen Street Academy and thus one of the artists Robert Strange suggested Cooper “brought down from London”. See Ilaria Bignamini: ‘The First St. Martin’s Lane Academy, 1720-1724’, in Walpole Society Vol. 54  p. 73. He died in Edinburgh shortly before February 1740 when his customers were asked to retrieve any pictures sent to be washed or or mended. They were to collect them from the shop of James Allan, merchant, in the Luckenbooths, over against the Red Lion, before 1 April next, otherwise they would be sold at a public roup or sale, along with his collection of pictures. Likewise, anyone who had borrowed prints or pictures were asked to return them. Edinburgh Evening Courant 26 February 1740, p. 4.]
♦ (4th May. Permission granted for “Brother William Robertson to use the [Canongate Lodge] room for auctioning his pictures and other curiosities”).
♦ 11 January: Letter from Alexander Lind of Gorgie [Richard Cooper’s brother-in-law] and Prof. Alexander Monro to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh regarding the setting up of a museum and library in the Old College of the University.) [ECA, Moses Index, Bundle 202 Item 7260. Cooper married Alexander's sister later the same year].
♦ 6 February. Account to Charles 4th Earl of Traquair [1659-1741] for 2 Guineas stg. [£181.00] [Traquair Muniments, Estate Account Book for 1737-1738 p. 11].
♦ 29 June. Account to the same for £8.14.8 stg. [£753.60] ‘for the coat of arms painting and other work about it on the gates at ye head of the avenue’. He received an additional 2 Guineas stg. ‘for himself’ [£181.00]. [Op. Cit. p. 23. The carved stone bears were added by George Jameson in 1746, for which he charged 10 Guineas stg. Op. Cit. Account Book for 1745-1746, p. 36].
♦ 15 July. Account to Royal Infirmary for supply of 800 tickets @ 2/- per 100, 16/- [£69.12]. [EUL. MSS LHB1/24/1 Royal Infirmary, Treasurer’s Accounts – Vouchers. Un-paginated].
♦ 9 August. Took Samuel Taylor as an assistant for one year, by Sheriff Court obligation. [NAS. SC39/76/78. Registered in 1744. Reference from William Kay, with thanks].
♦ 25 August. Lends £9 stg.[£776.61] to John Rollo, goldsmith in Edinburgh. [NAS. RD3/198, 25th August 1738].
♦ 1 1 November. Takes action in Court of Session against the heirs of John Grierson regarding the property he purchased May 1735. Claims that not all debts or burdens on the property were declared. Case, before Lord Kilkerran, probably sorted out before 21st December. [NAS. CS 238/C2/6 Richard Cooper v Walker and Co, 1751].
♦ 13 December: Did allow Alexander Sharp City Treasurer to take credit in his General accompts for the sum of six pounds five shillings sterl. paid by him to Richard Cowper Ingraver for engraving the profile of the course of the City`s pipes from Commiston and for making one hundred copies thereof. [Town Council Minutes ff. 288-289]
♦ 24 December. Married Ann Lind “youngest daughter of late George Lind, Merchant and Baillie”. [Rev. H. Paton, ed: The Register of Marriages for the Parish of Edinburgh 1701-1750 Edinburgh  p. 117. See also Sir Robert Douglas: The Genealogy of the Family of Lind and the Montgomeries of Smithton Windsor . Privately published by J.L.[James Lind MD FRS?]. Copies in NLS and BL. The marriage contract referred to in Cooper’s testament has not been found].
♦ Appears in accounts of Edinburgh Musical Society for 1738-9, £12 11s 3d [£1084]. [Minutes of the EMS, Vol. 1. p. 72. The amount here suggests that Cooper was engaged in the decoration of the concert hall as he is listed alongside ‘Mr. Norie’ [the decorator James Norie] £5.5.0 [£425.35] and ‘Mr. Allan’ [Andrew Allan, painter?] £1.1.0 [£85.07]. ‘Mr. Allan Painter’ was paid 5 guineas [£425.35] in 1737 for copying a picture at Penicuik House ‘for the Musical Society Gift’ (NAS (East) GD18/1729/3, p. 120) and this is presumably the picture of St. Cecilia, after Francesco Imperiali's picture at Penicuik, mentioned in the inventory of furniture etc. listed at the front of volume 2 of their minutes].
♦ Nsd: Complaint by Richard Couper, engraver against David Home, writer who owes him £2 10s Stg. for engraving a quartered coat of arms with crest &c. anno 1738. Edinburgh 10 December 1740. Home was personally warned by a member of the Court, 13 and 16 December 1740. [ECA, Baillie Court papers Box 102 Bundle 254. With thanks to William Fortescue]
♦ 2 January: Robert Moubray, His Majesties Master Wright in Scotland ordered to pay Thomas Mossman, painter £1 13s stg. by the Edinburgh Baillie Court. Moubray had asked Richard Cooper to employ a fit person to take measures and directions of the bridges of Dee and Don (Aberdeen) and to make a draught of the south-east and south-west prospects of the bridges. Cooper had written to Mossman and he employed William Chrystall, architect at Aberdeen to do the work and paid him £19 16s Scots (£1 13s stg) on completion, according to a receipt and discharge dated 26 December 1738. T he Baillie Court decided that Moubray owed Mossman the money, shortly after 2 January 1739. [ Edinburgh City Archives, Baillie Court papers, Box 85 Bundle 212. Ebeneezer Bain: Merchant and craft guilds: a history of the Aberdeen incorporated trades. (Aberdeen 1887) p. 45, William Chrystall, wright is listed as Deacon Convener of the Trades, 1730/31].
♦ 20 January: Birth of a son Charles to Alexander Lind and Helen Allardice. Witnesses, Charles, Earl of Lauderdale and Mr. Hay of Mountjoy.) [Edinburgh OPR, 685 3 /15 1719-1790].
♦ 31 January. Account to Royal Infirmary for supply of 700 tickets, 17s 6d [£75.50].
♦ 2 March. Engraved a specimen plate for the twenty shilling note for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
[Royal Bank of Scotland archives. Director's Minutes, 2nd March 1739. There is no further mention of the plates until 14th December 1741 when the following is recorded 'Mr. George Middleton banker in London having transmitted a specimen of the twenty shilling notes of this bank to be engraven by Bickham, the same was approved of and ordered to be sent back to him to get the plates forthwith cut'. Cooper re-touched the plates on the Director's instructions in 1759, which suggests he did indeed make the plate for the notes].
♦ Engraved for James Oswald: A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes Edinburgh [1739?]. [EPL,  watermarked 1746. James Colquhoun, Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1738/9 listed as a subscriber].
♦ Engraved two frontispiece illustrations after George Jamesone [1589-1644], one a portrait of Arthur Johnston [1587-1641] for William Lauder, ed.: Poetarum Scotorum Musae Sacrae Edinburgh . [Johnston, William. The Bibliography and Extant Portraits of Arthur Johnston, M.D., Physician to James VI And Charles I. Aberdeen: 1895.
♦ To 1748. (October to June. William Chambers attends Alexander Monro’s anatomy Class.)
[Victoria and Albert Museum Library, CLE.Q.15. Purchased 12 May 1948. Fine binding with gilt tooling and the arms, back and front, of James Douglas, 15th Earl of Morton].
♦ Engraved a frontispiece and re-worked twelve French plates for François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon, The adventures of Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, published by Robert Urie & Co, Glasgow. These plates have two sets of numbers suggesting an earlier but presently unidentified use.
? Engraved, portrait of Archibald McDonald of Barisdale for The life of Archibald Mc'Donald, of Barisdale,: who is to suffer for high-treason, on the 22d of May, at Edinburgh. .. re-printed London .
[Barisdale died 1 June 1750 imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, having not been brought to trial. Published in, SHARP Richard: The Engraved Record of the Jacobite Movement , p. 178, no. 516].
Droeshout's portrait of Shakespeare
Engraved portrait of William Shakespeare The opening from A book of homage featured in this section shows a reproduction of the famous portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout (ca 1565-ca 1642), an engraver of Flemish descent whose family had moved to London in the late 16th century, living near the Dutch Church at Austin Friars.
The Dutch were one of the largest expatriate groups in London at the time, numbering some 5,000 out of a total population of 100,000. Many had fled the Continent due to religious persecution, while others were skilled economic migrants.
Droeshout’s reputation rests solely on his engraving of Shakespeare, which was commissioned for the First Folio of 1623, edited by John Heminges and Henry Condell.
In his essay for Gollancz’s commemoration, the art critic MH Spielmann is rather disparaging of Droeshout’s technique and execution while conceding that ‘this uncouth print, with all its imperfections … bears in its delineation the unmistakable stamp of truth.’
Ben Jonson’s comment in his poem To the reader, printed opposite the engraving in the First Folio, suggests that Droeshout captures something of the physical appearance of Shakespeare:
This figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut:
Wherein the graver had a strife
With Nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but have drawne his wit
As well in brasse, as he hath hit
His face the print would then surpasse
All, that was ever in brasse.
But, since he cannot, reader, looke
Not on his picture, but his booke.
First Folio. London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623. The Lilly Library, Indiana University.
First Folio. London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623. The Lilly Library, Indiana University.
The Tragedy of Macbeth. Van Nuys, CA.: Barbara J. Raheb, 1981. The Lilly Library, Indiana University
Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama records, 1925-2007. Indiana University Archives and Records Management.
Photograph by: Kevin Montague William Harry Warren Bicknell (American, 1860-1947). William Shakespeare (after the Chandos Portrait), ca. 1900. Etching on paper. Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, IU Art Museum 2006.711
Photograph by: Kevin Montague William Sharp (English, 1740-1824) after John Opie (English, 1761-1807). Richard III: In the Tent. Richard Asleep. Ghosts of Persons he had Murdered (Act 5, scene 3) from Woodmason’s Shakespeare Gallery, 1794. Engraving and etching on paper. Gift of Gloria Middeldorf in memory of Ulrich Middeldorf, IU Art Museum 126.96.36.199
Photograph by: Keven Montague John Hall (English, 1739-1797) after John Opie (English, 1761-1807). King John: Herbert, Arthur, and Executioners (Act 4, scene 1) from Woodmason’s Shakespeare Gallery, 1794. Engraving and etching on paper. Gift of Gloria Middeldorf in memory of Ulrich Middeldorf, IU Art Museum 188.8.131.52
Photograph by: Kevin Montague Al Hirschfeld (American, 1903-2003). A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1954. Pen and ink on paper. IU Art Museum 72.119.1
Photograph by: Kevin Montague Eugene Delacroix (French, 1798-1863). Study for the Death of Hamlet (Act 5, scene 2), ca. 1834-43. Graphite on paper. IU Art Museum 57.19
Photograph by: Kevin Montague Henry Fuseli (Swiss, active England, 1741-1825). Prospero, Caliban, and Miranda in Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Act 1, Scene 2) ca. 1806-10. Oil on Canvas. IU Art Museum.
Verdi, Giuseppe. Macbeth: Melodramma in Quattro Atti. Milano New York: G. Ricordi, [187-?]. William & Gayle Cook Music Library, Indiana University