William Shakespeare

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Created to illustrate Wivell's "Inquiry into the History of the Shakespeare Portraits" (1827), this engraved portrait derives from an early eighteenth-century mezzotint by John Simon, itself based on a painting by Gerard Van Soest (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon). Trained in Holland, Soest worked in London five decades after the Bard's death and constructed a likeness calculated to please tastes shaped by Sir Antony Van Dyck and John Dryden. Compared to life-time portrayals such as the Chandos Portrait (see 1986.1180.1631), this image has a thinner face, more sensitive expression, fuller head of hair, and has lost his rakish earring.

William Shakespeare, William Holl, the Elder (British, 1771–1838), Stipple engraving

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