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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: April ::
New Portrait of Shakespeare?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0184  Saturday, 25 April 2009

[1]  From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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      Date:   Saturday, April 25, 2009
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

[2]  From:   John W Kennedy <
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 >
      Date:   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 16:40:17 -0400
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

[3]  From:   Bob Grumman <
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 >
      Date:   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 17:29:22 -0500
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?


[1] -----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:       Saturday, April 25, 2009
Subject: 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

On Thursday, I received an e-mail from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 
announcing the opening of the Shakespeare Found exhibition as part of 
the Trust's traditional birthday celebrations:

http://www.shakespearesbirthday.org.uk/

Shakespeare Found: A Life Portrait runs from 23 April 2009 to 6 
September 2009 at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon. 
The following is the description of the exhibition:

This exhibition marks a defining moment in the history of Shakespeare's 
posthumous reputation. Over the centuries a number of images have been 
put forward as life portraits of our greatest writer, but at present 
none of them is generally accepted as such. Up until now, the only two 
likenesses with strong claims to authenticity have been the engraving in 
the First Folio, of 1623, by Droeshout, and the bust in Holy Trinity 
Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. Now, with the emergence of the Cobbe 
portrait, we are presented with a contemporary portrait that has strong 
claims to represent the dramatist as he appeared to his contemporaries

The Trust's webpage includes, in addition to the Shakespeare Found 
Events and an invitation to join the Trust's mailing list, a page 
dedicated to the evidence claimed for the Cobbe Portrait:

http://www.shakespearefound.org.uk/evidence.html

Copies of the painting we now refer to as the Cobbe portrait were 
identified as Shakespeare within living memory of the poet. The original 
was almost certainly owned by Shakespeare's only known literary patron, 
Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, to whom the Cobbe family is 
distantly related. The sitter would appear to have been identified as a 
playwright in the 17th century. The Latin inscription along its top 
edge, 'Principum Amicitias!', is a quotation from an ode by the 
classical writer Horace (Book II, Ode I). In Horace's poem, the words -- 
which can be translated as 'the alliances of princes!' --  were 
addressed to the tragic playwright Pollio. Horace's words warned Pollio 
of the dangers of writing vividly about recent major historical events 
(dangers of which Shakespeare was all too well aware) and contrasted the 
playwright's historical and tragic writings. But even more importantly, 
the Cobbe portrait seems to have been the model or source (through a 
copy) for Martin Droeshout's familiar engraving of Shakespeare for the 
First Folio of 1623.

What people are saying

Early dissenters have objected to the age of the sitter being forty-six, 
but painters (like photographers) have ever flattered. . . . The main 
contender for the sitter is Sir Thomas Overbury (1581-1613) who to our 
mind was not quite as good looking as Shakespeare. His claim is based on 
the mistaken assertion of David Piper who did not quite consider the 
provenance of one of the copies of the Cobbe portrait (the Ellenborough 
copy) carefully enough. Overbury's beard is brown not auburn, and he 
does not have the characteristic Shakespearian cast in his left eye. . . .

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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 >
Date:       Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 16:40:17 -0400
Subject: 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

Louis Swilley <
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 > writes,

 >List, O List to Conrad Geller!  What difference does it make WHO
 >wrote the plays?  The play's the thing!  Judge Stevens and his Earl
 >of Oxford be damned!

Those who have known me for any time know with what detestation I look 
upon Delia Bacon and all her tribe. Nevertheless, I must here 
hypothetically demur. The specific fantasy that underlies the entire 
school of Neddie Oxenford is that "Hamlet" is an autobiographical 
roman-a-clef. Now surely, if that /were/ true, it would make a great 
difference indeed to our understanding and estimation of the play. Or 
would you also and impartially maintain that it would not matter who 
wrote "Hadrian VII", or the Melopoyn episode of "Roderick Random", or 
"The Glass Menagerie"?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Bob Grumman <
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 >
Date:       Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 17:29:22 -0500
Subject: 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0178 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

 >List, O List to Conrad Geller!  What difference does it make WHO wrote 
the plays?
 >
 >L. Swilley

It makes no difference for people only interested in the plays as drama 
and/or literature, Louis. But for some of us literary history and/or the 
psychology of creativity are as interesting as drama and literature. 
Knowing who wrote what is of major importance in these subjects.

I think, also, that most authors would agree with me that getting credit 
for their work is important; hence, the value of seeing that the 
authorship of plays is properly attributed.

  -- Bob G.


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