William Shakespeare

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Engraved to illustrate Wivell's "Inquiry into the History of the Shakespeare Portraits" (1827), this image of the Bard derives from the Felton picture (Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC), a painting that appeared at auction in 1792 and was purchased by Mr. S. Felton of Drayton, Shropshire. The initials "R.B.," found on the back were interpreted as those of Shakespeare's friend the actor Richard Burbage, and the work's authenticity affirmed by the scholar George Steevens. When this engraving was made the painting belonged to John Nichols and was lauded as the source of Martin Droeshout's famous engraving in the First Folio (1623). Today, the Felton picture is no longer thought to have been made during Shakespeare's lifetime.

William Shakespeare, John Cochran (British, active 1821–65), Stipple engraving

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