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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Grafton Portrait
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1823  Friday, 4 November 2005

From: 		Peter Farey <
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Date: 		Friday, 4 Nov 2005 07:41:12 -0000
Subject: 16.1817 Grafton Portrait
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1817 Grafton Portrait

Jan Pick asks:

 >Could Marlowe have afforded his 'kit'?  He was poor as well!

According to Park Honan's new biography (p.117), Marlowe certainly had 
the funds to dress fashionably by 1585, even if he was not permitted to 
do so while at University, and (p.118) had not only the money to 
commission a picture, but a good reason for wanting to have one.

Interestingly, I have a copy of Downie and Parnell's (eds) "Constructing 
Christopher Marlowe" before me, and see that the dust jacket shows both 
the Corpus Christi and Grafton portraits as "thought to be of Marlowe". 
  The age at that date does apply equally to Marlowe, of course, and the 
styles of the doublet and collar in the portraits are very similar. The 
face is rather more gaunt in the Grafton one, which is fairly easily 
explained, but I gather the eyes are of a different colour - grey rather 
than brown or hazel - which is perhaps less so.

The other question is presumably how many other young men of 24 were 
there in England in 1588 who might have been in a position to have had 
their portrait painted? Plenty, I guess. At least the Corpus Christi one 
has the benefit of being found not only in Marlowe's own college, but - 
as we now know - in that part of it occupied by Parker scholars, of 
which Marlowe, although not actually located in that area himself, was one.

Peter Farey

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