The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0442  Friday, 14 December 2018


From:        John Pollock <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 11:38:11 AM EST

Subject:    'The Shakespeare Box'


The current issue of The Ben Jonson Journal has, as its featured article, my piece on “Mr Shuckspr’se Box” ( which has been kindly reviewed here ( and by several other panjandrums, including Neil MacGregor (‘fascinating’) and Stephen Greenblatt (‘marvellous’). The doyen (I believe) of Italian Shakespearians, Fausto Cercignani, has been kind enough to weigh in - although he thinks it reads ‘Mr Shackspr’ rather than ‘Mr Shuckspr’ - which may well appeal to you, in particular, given the name of your site!


[Editor’s Note: SHAKSPER is spelled the way it is because when it was founded only eight characters were allowed in a name. It has remained that way for the past close to thirty years. -Hardy]


It’s an interesting Tudor artefact, to say the least, and I’m (slowly) putting together a blog ( password: palimpsest - all lower case) to fill out various other aspects of the story of the box and its ‘interrogation’ (there’s lots, and many more high resolution photographs, even unto microphotography).


I’m very much of the view that ‘the wisdom of the crowd’ might have some useful things to add to the enquiry - my own thoughts have been somewhat haphazard and fitful: for instance, I only realised after the last time I saw the box (with Eve McLaughlin) that the reverse of the lockplate is caked in (centuries of?) grime, and wondered whether, if either of these theatrical giants did have a hand in it, there might be a further ‘reveal’? 


Anyway, I do hope you enjoy the piece, and attach some (slightly higher) resolution photos for your amusement. I find the ‘W’ rather evocative, and somehow slightly festive, as I imagine the son of a glover and whittiwer personally punching the metal and send it in that spirit!


Attached Photo 1: 



Attached Photo 2:


Attached Photo 3:


Attached Photo 4:



Links to Additional Photos:


High resolution photos of the box and its inscriptions here as well as infra-red of the “Shuckspr” writing inside and some rather beautiful microphotography That’s before one gets on to Ben Jonson signature comparison! 


With best regards,





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