The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0259 Friday, 31 March 2006
From: David Basch <
Date: Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 20:48:56 -0500
Subject: 17.0243 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0243 Chandos Portrait Probably Genuine
I give much thanks to Bill Lloyd and Joseph Egert for enlightening me
about the history of the Dugdale drawing of which is was totally
ignorant, thinking the one presented by Charlton Ogburn as the original.
Bill Lloyd gave me the opportunity to make my own investigation since
the internet site he identified in his posting showed all the versions
subsequently made of the original Dugdale sketch. I urge others on the
list to do their own examination of these versions so as to come up with
their own views and not views planted by those who have axes to grind,
among them, possibly, to certify that what we have today as the monument
is what was there originally.
If we look at these versions, most of which attempt to replicate the
original sketch, we must conclude that the original featured a pillow
like pads under the poet's hands without the pen. This seems to be
As to the head, while some of the versions disagree on details of
architectural representation, they all agree on the characterization of
the head as gaunt and with a gout. Only the 1723 Vertue engraving gives
a representation that squares with the present sculpture.
One cannot help concluding that Vertue's engraving was made for the
express purpose of obscuring the fact that a shift in sculpture was made
since all the other versions stick with the characterization based on
the Dugdale of a less than roly poly, jolly face and without the quill
and writing desk. That is what I conclude and leave it to others to come
to their own conclusions.
Why the attempt to obscure the fact or the possible fact that there was
a change? I leave that for others to ask their own questions on this. As
for me, I would stick to my view that the Dugdale opens up the Hilliard
and the Grafton portraits as possible representations of the real poet,
though I have no objection to considering the Chandos portrait as
authentic, though a much later, more mature version of the poet at
perhaps the year 1610 at which time the poet would have been about 46.
As to why Joe Egert would insinuate that raising the issue of the
irregularity in the monument is "cultic anti-Stratfordianism" is beyond
me since I hold the view that Shakespeare, the Stratfordian, wrote his
own plays and still am well able to believe that this great poet was
unknown as a poet in his native city during his lifetime and for years
later. It seems to me that, after the poet's reputation finally caught
up in Stratford, there were some authorities that found the then
monument not fitting since, without the tablet and quill, it would
reveal the fact that the locals had not known this man in their midst
was a great poet, nor did the authorities think the monument adequately
resembled what they thought such a great writer should look like.
What other questions these observations bring up seems for now beside
the point. Perhaps Joe Egert can be more explicit about his objections
aside from poisoning the well for those who wish to consider facts as
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