The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0138 Wednesday, 8 March 2006
Date: Wednesday, 8 Mar 2006 07:14:57 -0500
Subject: 17.0129 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
Comment: RE: SHK 17.0129 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
Regarding the Grafton Portrait:
Totally personal theories, for personal reasons:
I believe that the Grafton portrait is the only genuine flat portrait,
for this reason:
The Droeshout engraving appears to have used a model for the head of
Shakespeare, while inventing (badly) a body in contemporary dress for
the rest of the engraving.
If friends of Shakespeare knew of the Grafton portrait, they may have
commissioned Droeshout to use either the portrait as a model for the
updated engraving, or a sketch of the portrait. Their descriptions would
have helped him portray Shakespeare when he was older, using the
friends' descriptions in altering the hair, etc. As an artist, I believe
he used someone's sketch of the portrait, a sketch that copied the pose,
the cast of the eyes, and the unusual ear lobe. I still maintain that
Elizabethan artists were not all as expensive or hard to come by as
people like to think, and that it is very simple for an artist to invent
a costly garment to spruce the thing up. I cannot believe art experts
can be so thick headed as to believe an artist's treatment would be
totally realistic in that time or any time.
As for the Chandos portrait: again, as I have stated earlier, the
portrait was owned by William Davenant, who claimed he was the bastard
son of WS. He was right on the bastard part, but not on the son title. I
do not believe he should be taken at his word; I think he either found a
suitable portrait of an unknown man, or somehow commissioned this.
And, the memorial bust - I think somewhere, at some time, there existed
a death mask that the sculptor worked from. If you compare the bust
proportions to the Grafton portrait, you will find the proportions are
in line for the transformation of a slender young man into a heavy older
My personal observations. Art experts sometimes make me want to sneeze.
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