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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Grafton Portrait
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1806  Tuesday, 1 November 2005

From: 		Al Magary <
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Date: 		Thursday, 27 Oct 2005 22:31:44 -0700
Subject: 	'Grafton Portrait' of Shakespeare is somebody else, says 
National Portrait Gallery

Shakespeare portrait is a fake
By Catriona Davies
Telegraph, Oct. 28, 2005

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/10/28/nshake28.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/10/28/ixhome.html

An iconic portrait used on the cover of numerous books about William 
Shakespeare is not of the playwright at all, the National Portrait 
Gallery said yesterday.  [See Telegraph article for Grafton portrait]

It is now thought that the Grafton Portrait depicts another man who 
lived at the same time as Shakespeare.

The painting was previously believed to have shown the Bard at the age 
of 24, and its beauty, sensitivity and passion helped to inspire the 
image of him portrayed in the film Shakespeare in Love.

However yesterday, after a nine-month investigation, the National 
Portrait Gallery said there was no evidence that the painting was of 
Shakespeare.

At the age of 24, Shakespeare would have been unable to afford the 
sumptuous silk and satin jacket worn by the man, having recently become 
a father to twins and possibly joining a travelling theatre troupe.

Research and restoration did confirm that it depicts a contemporary of 
Shakespeare, as it was painted in 1588 when he was 24. An inscription on 
the painting records the age of the sitter as 24.

Dr Tarnya Cooper, the 16th century curator at the National Portrait 
Gallery, said: "The painting hasn't really been looked at in a 
systematic way before. It's an expensive and timely process.

"But the painting has fuelled the kind of Shakespeare in Love theories 
of the 21st century, of a beautiful young man with a sensitive and 
passionate face, of a character with an incredible emotional range."

The portrait, owned by the John Rylands Library in Manchester, shows a 
young man with curly brown hair and grey eyes.

The National Portrait Gallery began its investigation into the veracity 
of six portraits claimed to be of Shakespeare nine months ago in 
preparation for its "Searching For Shakespeare" exhibition next year.

The next painting to be examined will be one called the Chandos portrait.

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