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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Fake Flower
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0773  Sunday, 24 April 2005

From:           Al Magary <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 22 Apr 2005 16:21:39 -0700
Subject:        Fake Flower

The National Portrait Gallery, in studying six apparent portraits of
Shakespeare, has "categorically stated" that the Flower portrait, owned
by the Royal Shakespeare Company, is a early 19th century fake.

You can do a Google News search but one long article, with the painting,
is the Telegraph's, at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/04/22/nbill22.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/04/22/ixhome.html
or *http://tinyurl.com/dxm7m

The NPG's website has this release, at
http://www.npg.org.uk/live/prelsearching.asp

*Update on National Portrait Gallery scientific research on Shakespeare
Portraits*

As a result of a major collaboration between the National Portrait
Gallery and the BBC, The Culture Show has been given unique access to
the scientific analysis commissioned by the Gallery on three portraits
of William Shakespeare. The Culture Show showed on Thursday 21 April the
first of three films on the portraits which will be exhibited for the
first time together in one of the Gallery's 150th anniversary
exhibitions /Searching for Shakespeare/ (2 March - 29 May 2006).

Viewers to the programme were able to watch a team of curators,
conservators and scientists undertake a series of tests on the portrait
including x-rays, ultra-violet examination, macro and micro photography
and the examination of microscopic paint samples. The Flower portrait
belonging to the Royal Shakespeare Company is one of the key objects
that will come to the National Portrait Gallery for the forthcoming
exhibition next March. The critical test proved to be paint sampling
which showed that most of the portrait was painted with pigments from
around Shakespeare's lifetime, yet the golden braid of the doublet was
painted with a pigment only available in the early 19th century, called
chrome yellow. When the pigment sample was seen under the microscope it
was evident that these particles were well integrated into the paint
layers, and thus it can be categorically stated that Flower portrait of
Shakespeare is a nineteenth century painting. The National Portrait
Gallery is undertaking investigation into two other paintings in
preparation for the exhibition; the Chandos portrait presented to the
Gallery in 1856 and the 'Grafton' portrait owned by the John Rylands
Library, University of Manchester. The results of this research will be
published in an illustrated exhibition catalogue to be published in
March 2006. Further programmes relating to the investigations and the
exhibition will be shown in the autumn and just prior to the opening
exhibition next year.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Further information on:
SEARCHING FOR SHAKESPEARE

2 March - 29 May 2006

In 1856 the first portrait presented to the newly-founded National
Portrait Gallery was a compelling painting considered to be of William
Shakespeare, known as the "Chandos" portrait. At this date Shakespeare's
appearance had been a matter of national interest for around two
centuries. Yet the identity of this picture is still considered unproven
and today we have no certain lifetime portrait of England's most famous
poet and playwright. On the occasion of the National Portrait Gallery's
150th anniversary in 2006, an exhibition on the biography and
portraiture will be staged at the Gallery. Alongside the Chandos
portrait, five other "contender" portraits purporting to represent
Shakespeare will be displayed together for the first time. The
exhibition will present the results of new technical analysis and
research on several of these pictures casting new light on the search
for Shakespeare's authentic appearance. Shakespeare's life can only be
partially reconstructed, but this exhibition will also attempt to search
for the Shakespeare his contemporaries knew by looking closely at his
own circle. The exhibition will bring together original documents
relating to Shakespeare's life and portraits of his contemporaries
including actors, patrons and other playwrights, in order to place the
poet not in our historical imagination, but within his own time.

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