Talk:Portraits of Shakespeare

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New images[edit]

I've added images of some other portraits or purported portraits of Shakespeare that are not on this page:

To use or not as you wish. Dcoetzee 10:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

We should probably create a gallery section, otherwise the page will become too cluttered. Paul B (talk) 10:37, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Neat to see how it's grown[edit]

I'm glad to see the enormous amount of attention this article has received. Would you believe that just a few days ago this article was an orphan, with only two or three other links to it? I made a few edits, but in retrospect my biggest contribution was linking to here from both William Shakespeare (yes, there was no link) and Template:Shakespeare. That, plus the attention the topic has received thanks to the Cobbe portrait announcement, has created what we have today. YLee (talk) 04:00, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Zuccari portrait?[edit]

This is one I've never heard of. Where did the information on it come from? BTW, you might want to check out "Windows on Warwickshire" for pictures of other portraits, esp. this link: Tom Reedy (talk) 04:17, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, there are a great many more portraits out there! The term 'Zuccari portrait' (also known as the 'Zucchero portrait', after the old spelling of the artist's name) can refer to two notable pictures, both of which were once attributed to Zuccari. One is the familiar Chesterfield portrait, which was attributted to Zuccari before the modern attribution to Borsseler. The other is this picture which was acquired by Richard Cosway. He proclaimed it to be Shakespeare and it was reproduced as a print. It's compared to the Chandos on p.57 of the NPG Searching for Shakespeare catalogue. That's the one that this article calls the Zuccari portrait, but as it was originally written the author seems to have got the Cosway and Chesterfield 'Zuccari' images mixed up, so I separated them out.
To complicate matters further, there was also, apparently, a third, more obscure contender that was attributed to Zuccari.Paul B (talk) 07:31, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Doesn't much look like any of the other portraits. Thanks for the information. FWIW, the Stratford bust antedates the Droeshout, and here's another link to the monument today: Tom Reedy (talk) 15:39, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


I see Softlavender is now trying to add Oxfordian stuff to the Shakespeare Portraits article. I will inform you of a few relevant facts. I have given you enough time to answer my questions. You have utterly failed to do so. As I have stated, the book you reference is not a scholarly text and is not a reliable source by Wikipedia standards. If you wish to debate this please discuss the matter on the Reliable sources board. Oxfordian publications are not reliable sources either. According to WP:fringe such sources are only appropriate on pages devoted to fringe theories themselves, and the Hamersely page and the Shakespeare portraits page do not come into that category. So neither of your sources are acceptable there. Please feel free to check this out with uninvolved contributors.

I will not have this page sullied by distortions and misrepresentations. If you want to discuss the frankly ludicrous arguments of Mark Anderson with regard to this portrait I am happy to do so. I only have access to them from his web page, since I have no intention of buying his book, and it is not, of course, in the possession of any of the academic libraries to which I have access. Stylistically this picture is unlike Kettle's work (apart from generic similarities typical of the art of the time), and is not attributed to him by any reliable sources. It is far less skillfilly painted than Kettle's works. The composition of a person holding a skull is completely typical of the time, and there are numerous other examples. (eg Catrin o Ferain. Kettle himself painted one Thomas Pead) So no-one at the time would have thought there was anything unusual about it, or connected it to Hamlet or Shakespeare. Anderson's claim that Oxford's family repainted it after his death because of a "panic" over political crises is so silly that it's difficult to know where to begin. Even portraits of convicted traitors were not repainted, and there is no reason why a portrait of Oxford should have been. To repaint it to connect it to Shakespeare is even more nonsensical if the intention was to conceal a connection to him. Numerous servants in the household would have seen the unaltered original, so repainting it to resemble the standard image of the playwright would make a connection that would not have existed at all beforehand. In any case the age has been repainted by a year to obliterate Hamersley's age. It does not fit Oxford's age at all. All these arguments demonstrate a profound ignorance or deliberate twisting of the facts about 16th-17th century culture. Paul B (talk) 08:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Paul, we are not discussing a fringe theory here — we are discussing the identification of a painting by independent art experts and optics experts. Since there is no unanimity of agreement that the painting is Hamersley, per Wikipedia policy all dissenting points of view by experts must be reported to avoid POV. The original expert opinion (in 1940 via X-ray examination) was that the Ashbourne portrait was Edward de Vere, and this was agreed upon even by certain mainstream Shakespeare scholars. That must be reported. Next, Pressly's opinion in the Folger examination of the painting was that it was Hamersley. That has been reported. Next, independent art expert Barbara Burris made extensive examinations of the painting and concluded it was de Vere. That must be reported. The complete history of the painting from its promulgation in 1847 through all of the various examinations and reports, back and forth, are covered thoroughly in the 8 cited pages of the Anderson book. You cannot comment on that authoritatively because you have not read those pages. Briefly, the pages review, in addition to Barrell's 1940 X-ray examination and Pressly's 1993 examination: 6 articles by Burris (2002-2004), a 2004 published interview with English archival researcher Derran Charlton, an article by a mainstream Shakespeare scholar Oscar James Campbell in Harpers, the 1993 Folger catalogue (in which Pressly notes the letters CK visible on the painting), and internal Folger documents, among other things. Since it is clear that there is no consensus that the painting is Hamersley, other expert opinions must be reported. Softlavender (talk) 09:37, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
You can raise this at the Fringe Theories board and at the Reliable Sources board. However, the fact is that the original study was not made by an independent person. It was made by an Oxfordian, and Oxfordianism has been accepted by WP consensus as a FRINGE theory (and of course by academia in general). However, that's neither here nor there. There is no need to report on a completely obsolete study that has been supplanted by new ones. Nevertheless, the fact remains that we can only report on what is in reliable sources, and the internal publications of the Oxfordians do not count as reliable sources. I have no idea who Barbara Burris is, but there is a very kitschy painter by that name [1]. Being a painter does not make you "an independent art expert". Anyone can become a painter. It doesn't automatically give you expertise on anything. But even if she were an expert, she would still have to publish in reliable sources if her theories were to recorded here. That is very very clear in policy. At best her non-reliably published views could be included - if and only if she has already published in reliable sources that establish her expertise in the relevant area. The other articles you cite don't pass the test either, since Derran Charlton is an Oxfordian ideologue and the Harpers article dates from 1940, and so is irrelevant to the modern consensus of experts. The 1993 Folger catalogue does not state that it is not Hamersley, so you are either misinformed or misrepresenting the facts. Nor does it contradict what Pressly states in the SQ article, as is falsely claimed by Anderson, since both state that the CK may or may not be there (the X rays are inconsistent), but that if it is, it probably stands for Clement Kingston.Paul B (talk) 14:22, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Paul is simply making thing up. Being an Oxfordian does not disqualify a scholar or researcher. If, for example, a recognized costume researcher is quoted in a news article or website, then that statement is certainly a Reliable Source. If a researcher for the Victorian Albert Museum were to make a statement in the press, on a website, or even - God forbid - an Oxfordian publication, it makes no difference, as the Reliable Source is the person (and their official affiliation) and not the vehicle thru which their statement is publicized.Smatprt (talk) 15:12, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
You are the one making things up. Everything I said is entirely appropriate. Being an Oxfordian does not disqualify anyone who has published their findings in reliable sources. The fact is that Anderson simply misrepresents facts, for example by claiming that Barbara Burris is an independent "art expert" (This is a person who can't tell the difference between a mezzotint and a woodcut!). Derran Charlton's distinguished contributions to art history include a claim that a 16th century imaginary portrait of Henry IV is in fact...Oxford, even though it's known to be a copy of a print. Even Oxfordians don't pretend anymore that the CK's "found" by Wisner Barrell in the Janssen portrait exist. Paul B (talk) 15:26, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
At least we agree that even recognized authorities are sometimes mistaken! But that, unfortunately, does not really matter on these pages. If a recognized authority makes a claim, it is reportable. Just look at all the ink Wells has received over the Cobbe. It's similar to Kathman's claim, as edited by Wells, that there is no evidence that Oxford and Southampton knew each other. Sort of ridiculous considering they are both in an etching holding up the Queen's canopy,or more obvious, that Southampton was once engaged to Oxford's daughter. But it was printed in a Wells book, so it must be so....?!?! Smatprt (talk) 15:43, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Of course recognised authorities are sometimes mistaken, but I have no idea what the rest of your comments have to do with this article, or what relevant point you are trying to make about any particular "recognised authority". Paul B (talk) 15:58, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Smatprt, you don't seem to understand what, according to policy, reliable sources are. It all depends on the mechanism of publication. It is the publication process that determines reliability according ot policy. The fact that Barbara Burris quotes from letters allegedly written by V&A experts does not make the quoted comments reliable. We can't be sure that the quotations are accurate or not cherry-picked. We also don't know what information the writers are responding to. In other words you can't take quotations from an unreliable source and then claim they are reliable, unless they are independently attested in reliable sources. Paul B (talk) 22:33, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Regarding Wisner Barrell, he is not a "recognised authority" on anything whatever. He has no known expertise on Shakespeare and no known expertise on x-rays. He commissioned x-rays, which he then had published. Of course the publisher legitimised them as of scholarly significance, but the reliablity of that journal concerned new technologies of knowledge gathering, not interpretations of history. It has also been rendered obsolete, just as any number of other articles from 1940 are obsolete on matters of science. Since then a lot of new evidence has emerged to suggest that Wisner Barrell distorted the x-ray evidence. No copies of the original x-rays survive. Bissel's promise to provide copies to the Folger was renaged on. He withdrew from the court case when asked to provide evidence substantiating his claims. Later x-rays contradict his assertions. In other words, there is good circumstantial evidence that Wisner Barrell doctored his data. For this reason his 1940 article can't remotely be considered current. Paul B (talk) 22:59, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I never said the 1940 article was current. And sorry, but by your own admission, the publisher legitimized them, and it's not up to you to judge their own reliability. And circumstantial evidence, as you well know, has no place here (I wish that it did!). But you are mistaken about the Shakespeare Fellowship journal, and the associated website. Or perhaps you are just misinformed. To enlighten you, the journal and website are edited by Roger Stritmatter, PhD, and the publication includes on its editorial staff four PhD's in literary studies -- Dr. Daniel Wright of Concordia University (English), Dr. Felicia Londré of the University of Missouri at Kansas City (Theatre History), Dr. Anne Pluto (English) of Leslie College and Dr. Roger Stritmatter, Instructor of English at Coppin State College in Baltimore, MD. As such, the journal and its website are indeed RS. If you want to fight that, then feel free to take it to another level of Wiki administration. But with their credentials, I don't think you will be successful. On a private note, I would think that the article, even though it appears in an Oxfordian journal, would be of interest to you. The research is sound, the references outstanding, and the conclusions are reasonable. And my edits do not conclude that De Vere is the sitter, but that the Hamersley identification is probably wrong.Smatprt (talk) 23:15, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
You can propose this at the RS board, but I doubt that anyone will agree with you that this bunch of ideologues are RS or that they remotely constitute peer review. Of course I have read the article years ago. Paul B (talk) 23:18, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

First Folio etched portrait is Oxfordian proof?[edit]

Allegedly the collar's edge in the famous First Folio "Shakespeare" portrait has two faint, but visible letters spelling "EO" near the hair. If that doesn't stand for "Earle Oxenford" can you please provide a better explanation? (talk) 20:53, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Someone made it up. Paul B (talk) 22:27, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Hampton Court "Shakespeare" portrait[edit]

Is there a reliable source for the Hampton Court portrait? The stylized clothing of the Droeshout portrait somewhat resembles the clothing worn in the Hampton Court portrait. Perhaps the portrait is called something else, and there is a bit of literature on it? Fotoguzzi (talk) 15:40, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

You mean [this painting]? As the caption states, it's discussed by Spielmann. It's also discussed in various catalogues of the palace collection. No one thinks its Shakespeare, except Charles Wisner Barrell, who, as usual, "discovered" that it had been painted over a portrait of Oxford. Paul B (talk) 15:49, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. I see that Spielmann wrote the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article that mentions it, also. Was the clothing of the Droeshout a common pattern? Is there a source for that clothing choice? (If Spielmann's contention that William IV took it for a Shakespeare portrait, is the only claim for the portrait, then to me, it's value for the present article would be if the clothing for the Droeshout engraving were sourced from the Hampton Court portrait. Thanks.Fotoguzzi (talk) 16:32, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there is certainly a close similarity. I don't know enough about clothing styles to say whether or not it is sufficiently distinctive to have plausibly served as a model for the doublet. I've had a quick look at the literature on the Droeshout, and it's not mentioned in anything I've looked at so far. Paul B (talk) 17:15, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
BTW, we should have a stand alone article on the Droeshout portrait. At the moment it is only discussed in the article on the engraver. Paul B (talk) 17:16, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

The "Xiong Shiyu" portrait[edit]

The source provided for this wholly WP:AGF edit states that the image will be presented for examination at Shakespeare's Globe today. May we wait for more specialised assessments from recognized art historians before inclusion here? I couldn't trace any of the people named in the story as having any credentials in the field. My reaction is in only in very small part owed to the startling contrast between the heavy application of Shakespearean lipstick and the "Mr Potato Head" beard in the likeness. --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Wow that truly is a very bizarre image. The article says he's wearing red lipstick as a performer of female roles (!) I wonder why he hasn't shaved off that Napoleon III-as-played-by-Groucho 'tache then. Paul B (talk) 15:29, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Andy Warhol portrait of Shakespeare[edit]

Just added "citation needed" for Andy Warhol having "created a Shakespeare portrait (1962), repeating the Droeshout image in several colours in silkscreen and acrylic." It seems more likely that Warhol-inspired portraits of Shakespeare have been incorrectly thought to be by him. There is no portrait of Shakespeare in the most up-to-date catalog of Warhol's print oeuvre.[1] Moreover, almost none of Warhol's brightly-colored portrait prints have unaltered original images and only one or two colors per face.[2] This contrasts with the Warhol-esque Shakespeares currently found online, such as the one on the Quiz page of Taking a Spin on Shakespeare or the adaptation used for the 75th Anniversary celebration of the Folger Shakespeare Library--Eblakedc (talk) 17:31, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Quite possibly true, though he did do some seriously cliched Warhol-does-Warhol stuff in the 1980s, so I wouldn't put it past him. Paul B (talk) 22:39, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Hummel Schmummel[edit]

The removal of the Hammerschmidt-Hummel claims has been reverted with the edit-summary "one has claimed 1760 provenance; 2nd published 1824. Pre-Victorian". While, of course, this is technically true it's irrelevant to the main point (I was using the term "Victorian" loosely). Nevertheless, it's factually untrue that that the 2nd picture was published in 1824. I do not trust the date given to the first either, but that's ultimately unimportant as it is a copy. It's just a copy of the Janssen portrait, so it's not new at all, and the other is a transparently non 17th century painting. Hammerschmidt-Hummel is notorious for her increasingly preposterous claims about Shakespeare portraits. The methods she uses have nothing to do with mainstream art history at all. She gets doctors and other non-historians to back up claims about head shape etc which show a total lack of understanding of how artists work. It's not even any kind of "discovery" since it's discussed in an edition of James Boaden's book. However, H-H, as usual, is being less than straightforward. She found it in "a rare, richly illustrated edition of James Boaden's work of 1824". The problem with that is that it not in Boaden's book at all. I've read the original edition. She's referring to a Victorian-era edition published after Boaden's death with lots of added illustrative pictures. It's on p.129 of the facsimile reprint, which any one in the world can read as it has been in New York library since 1936, and will have been seen by hundreds of scholars. The book has lots of later images depicting Shakespeare: reproductions of statues and illustrations etc (one depicts people dressed in mid-Victorian fashions walking past Anne Hathaway's cottage). There is simply no provenance to this. It's blatantly not 17th century in style, and it has no more relevance to this page than the many many other similar images of the era depicting Shakespeare. Paul B (talk) 11:49, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Using "Victorian" "loosely"? One has a claimed provenance in the 1760s (not 1760, correcting my typo). The other appears in a book published in 1824. I will check a paper copy of the 1824 book soon. On what basis do you say this engraving was added in a later reprint? Of course, they may not be genuine portraits from life, but they may be worth considering more than the above dismissal.Coralapus (talk) 12:31, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Why don't you read what I wrote, genius. You clearly know nothing about this at all. What you link to is a facsimile reprint, which cannot have been published in 1824. The technology of the reproductions is mid-Victorian at the earliest and the illustration of Hathaway's cottage has a family dressed in fashions of the 1850s in the foreground. The book reprints Boaden's text with many illustrations that have nothing to do with what Boaden writes and are just added for decoration, very typical of books of the Victorian era. There are engravings of statues etc that are not in any way claimed to be authentic images. Think about this. How can this possibly be a discovery if everyone has always known about it? Paul B (talk) 12:34, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The NY Public Library copy is dated 1824. I have requested from storage another copy from a university library, also dated 1824. She does not claim to be the first to see this. You reverted or undid this mild informational non-committal one-sentence addition three times. Is this page your personal property?Coralapus (talk) 12:53, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The NY library copy reprints the front page of the original edition, hence the date. I'm guessing that it's an unauthorised reprint (the US did not have copyright agreements with the UK at the time). Anyone who knows about books and illustrations will tell you that it's not from 1824. It's not that it's my personal property, it's that this is blatant misinformation. H-H is notorious for this. Art historians are utterly fed up with the self-promoting and ridiculous claims she makes. No art historian has ever taken this image seriously as a depiction of Shakespeare from his lifetime, nor indeed is there any evidence that anyone ever even claimed that it was. It's not even discussed in the book. It's just not appropriate to have what is essentially fringe material in the article. As I have already said, the other picture is just a copy of the Janssen portrait, which is already discussed. Paul B (talk) 13:01, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
(e/c) There is no good reason to exclude the widely- recently published claims simply on the grounds that some bloke on the internet thinks they're crazy, or not new. (WP:NOR?) If reliable sources think they're crazy, or can be readily dismissed, we need to see the sources. If the principle that they should be mentioned is accepted, the next question is where in the article they should be mentioned, and what words are used. Edit warring on one side or the other doesn't help in that process. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:05, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
They are not "widely published". We should restrict ourselves to scholarly commentary, unless something is purely uncontroversial. The unreliable nature of H-H is hardly a new issue. We can't reasonably expect reliable sources to comment on some recent news report. Likewise we would not use recent news reports as a basis for articles on history. People make wild claims about Shakespeare all the time. It's a repeated problem. I think the best approach would be to take this to the RS or Fringe theories discussion board. BTW, it is normal editorial practice to make decisions about what to include and what to exclude. We don't just throw in everything. Paul B (talk) 13:15, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I'll withdraw "widely-published", but they've certainly received some global attention. And, if the claims are regarded as "fringe", or the claimant as "unreliable", there should be sources stating that. If we rely solely on "editorial" decisions, who decides which editors' views should be taken on board? Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:39, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Not really. Check the content of those links. As I say, she is a self-publicist and has been for years, but her claims are getting battier and even the press is wising up. This kind of thing easily circulates in newspapers, but we have to make sensible decisions about what to include, and that varies from topic to topic, as anyone at the RS board will tell you. Newly discovered "Shakespeare" portraits are a perennial topic for getting brief attention from the press. Paul B (talk) 13:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The NY Public Library lists its copy as published in 1824. Worldcat gives the page numbers for the 1824 edition and reprints. Can anyone show that a later reprint added pages, and specifically this illustration? I have requested the Duke University 1824 copy from storage, and I will check for this illustration. On what basis do you dismiss the claim of archival research indicating a painting was obtained in the 1760s from a relative of Shakespeare? Isn't that worth considering? Worth one sentence and a link? Thanks, Ghmyrtle.Coralapus (talk) 13:32, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

You can see the original 1824 edition on the Internet Archive too, quite easily. How do you explain the crinolines in the picture of Anne Hathaway's cottage? Or the fact that it has a reproduction of John Bell's 1851 sculpture of Shakespeare? I dismiss it on the basis that H-H is not reliable. She was, years ago, but her writings on art are not taken seriously by any art historians and this portrait is not discussed by any art historians, despite the fact that it is not exactly hidden from view. Even if it were true that the supposed 1760 picture were owned by a "distant relative" of Shakespeare, it wouldn't alter the fact that, as I keep saying, it's just a copy of the Janssen portrait. There are at least ten copies of this picture in existence. So it's not a discovery. Paul B (talk) 13:49, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann (2003). Andy Warhol Prints: a catalogue raisonné. D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., in assoc. with Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., Edition Schellmann, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 
    • ^ ibid.