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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Possible New Portrait
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1416  Thursday, 7 June 2001

From:           Sara V. Fink <
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Date:           Thursday, 07 Jun 2001 07:01:58 -0400
Subject: 12.1164 Re: Possible New Portrait
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1164 Re: Possible New Portrait

>"Shakspere," the withered piece of linen is said to read, "born April 23
>1564, Died April 23 1616, Aged 52. This Likeness taken 1603, Age at that
>time 39 ys."
>
>The trouble is, says Mr. Foster, the style and spelling of this
>inscription are distinctly mid-19th century.

Since the linen label was dated at between 1475 and 1640 by the Canadian
Conservation Institute, and the exact wording given by the Institute was
based partly on Spielmann's 1909 report, may I suggest that this exact
wording might be a roughly 19th c. interpretation of what was already a
badly faded and difficult to read inscription?  It was not uncommon for
owners of portraits in the 17th as well as later centuries to affix
labels identifying sitters, with death date.

Birthdays indeed are not recorded at this period, but I wonder ... is it
true that no one kept track within families?  Were birthdays not
celebrated, was it christening days instead, or some other nearby event?

Sara V. Fink

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