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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: June ::
Re: The Chandos Portrait
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 347.  Wednesday, 2 June 1993.
 
From:           Nick Clary <
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Date:           Tuesday, 01 Jun 1993 08:25:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        The Chandos Portrait
 
Although I do not find the quotation provided by John Mucci in the pamphlet
from which I quoted directly, Piper's position is certainly unchanged in
the text from which Mucci has quoted.  Perhaps a second title supersedes the
1964 National Portrait Gallery publication to which I referred?
 
By the way, in the Introduction to the 1964 pamphlet, I find the following:
"Unfortunately, a great many writers have not drawn what appears to be one
obvious conclusion--that if the renderings of the likeness are very unsubtle,
it may be rash to base subtle conclusions upon them.  The Droeshout engraving
may give the impression that the sitter had two right, or left, shoulders, or
eyes; the Chandos painting has been condemned out of hand as being of a Jew.
Better perhaps to accept, if cautiously, the portraits as not very skilful
attempts at maps--they at least agree on certain salient and idiosyncratic
features, notably the unusual dome forehead.  They are all we have, and we are
probably lucky to have as much....Most of the images reproduced in the
following pages are attempts by posterity to make good the deficiency of
contemporary portraits.  It may be that they reflect those of succeeding
generations more than the original spirit they tried so to compass.  It may
well be also that Shakespeare would have viewed their attempts with
skepticism: "Not marble, nor the gilded monuments/Of princes, shall outlive
this powerful rime..."(p.3).
 
I would be interested to learn whether Piper's tune has changed since the time
of this publication.
 
 
Nick Clary

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