The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0162 Monday, 13 March 2006
Date: Sunday, 12 Mar 2006 19:09:54 EST
Subject: 17.0152 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0152 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
1. Joe Egert is certainly on point when he reminds us that the Chandos
"was clearly favored by late 17th and 18th C. literary and artistic
circles." In fact it was in favor through much of the 19th and 20th
Centuries appearing, in one variation or another, as the frontispiece to
many highly regarded editions. Note too that Stanley Wells (Shakespeare
a Dramatic Life) acknowledges the Chandos. While his endorsement is more
than guarded -- he refers to the Chandos only as "having many defenders"
-- nevertheless it significant that Professor Wells does not mention any
other oil painting.
The problem, with the Chandos is that the facial dimensions are unlike
those of the Folio engraving and the monument. And since the First
Folio engraving and the monument have the strongest claims to
authenticity it is hard to be more than guarded in any endorsement of
the Chandos. The provenance is impressive, the picture itself suspect.
Thus the NPG endorsement of the Chandos is newsworthy and controversial.
2. As for the origins of the Chandos, I thought that the evidence
points to Richard Burbage as the painter, the actor Joseph Taylor, as
its first owner and Sir W. D'Avenant as having obtained it from Taylor.
What scholarship proved this to be in error? And wasn't John Taylor
the painter a brother to Joseph Taylor the actor?
Melvyn R. Leventhal
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