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William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Dramatist and poet

Sitter associated with 94 portraits
The most celebrated English playwright and poet, Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time. Whereas many poets of the period were wealthy amateurs, dramatists were usually professionals whose income came from supplying plays for the public theatres and court. Shakespeare worked as both an actor and playwright, and during his lifetime plays were usually regarded as texts belonging to the theatres for which they were written. However, the publication of Ben Jonson's Workes in 1616, and in 1623 his own Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, Tragedies (the 'First Folio'), were milestones in the recognition of plays as lasting, influential works of literature.

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William Shakespeare

associated with John Taylor
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1600-1610


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
coloured plaster cast, 1846 (circa 1620)
NPG 1281


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
plaster cast, (circa 1620)
NPG 1735


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
plaster cast of copy of head of effigy at Stratford-upon-Avon, (circa 1620)
NPG 185a


William Shakespeare

by Martin Droeshout
engraving, 1632 or 1663-1664
NPG 185


Funerary monument to William Shakespeare by Gerard Johnson

by Francis Bedford
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s
NPG x197552


William Shakespeare

after John Faed
albumen carte-de-visite, 1864 or before
NPG Ax39783


Unknown gentleman, possibly Sir Thomas Overbury, previously known as William Shakespeare

by Richard Earlom, after Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
mezzotint, (circa 1610)
NPG D4207


William Shakespeare

by Martin Droeshout, printed by Thomas Cotes, printed for Robert Allot
line engraving, 1632
NPG D16530


William Shakespeare

by Martin Droeshout
line engraving, 1685
NPG D27947


William Shakespeare

by John Simon, after Gilbert Soest
mezzotint, early 18th century
NPG D27948


Monument to William Shakespeare in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon

by George Vertue, after Gerard Johnson
line engraving, circa 1700-1750 (circa 1620)
NPG D21013


William Shakespeare

after Unknown artist
stipple and line engraving, mid-late 18th century
NPG D5944


William Shakespeare

by Michael Vandergucht
line engraving, 1709
NPG D25484


William Shakespeare

by and sold by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D25488


William Shakespeare

by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D25489


William Shakespeare

by and sold by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D11109


'Poets and Philosophers of England'

by John Simon
mezzotint, mid 18th century
NPG D41665


'Poets and Philosophers of England'

by John Simon
mezzotint, mid 18th century
NPG D3192

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