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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

by Gerard Vandergucht
line engraving, probably mid 18th century
NPG D25485


William Shakespeare

after Unknown artist
line engraving, mid to late 18th century
NPG D5945


William Shakespeare

by Jacobus Houbraken
line engraving, 1747
NPG D25480


William Shakespeare

possibly by Henry Brocas the Elder
stipple engraving, late 18th to early 19th century
NPG D25486


David Garrick; William Shakespeare

by J. Miller
stipple engraving, late 18th century
NPG D20571


William Shakespeare

by John Hall, probably after John Taylor
line engraving, published 1785
NPG D32488


William Shakespeare

by John Goldar, probably after John Taylor
line engraving, published 1785
NPG D20572


William Shakespeare

by Unknown artist
electrotype, 19th century
NPG D7217


William Shakespeare

by Charles Warren
line engraving, 1806
NPG D25487


Memorial portrait of William Shakespeare

by Thomas Woolnoth, published by Mary Jane Godwin, after Gilbert Soest
stipple engraving, published 1 November 1809 (circa 1605-1681)
NPG D21646


William Shakespeare

by Robert Cooper
stipple engraving printed in colour, published 1811
NPG D18819


William Shakespeare

by William Ward, published by John Britton, after Thomas Phillips, after George Bullock, after Gerard Johnson
mezzotint, published 23 April 1816 (circa 1620)
NPG D42286


William Shakespeare

by James Heath, published by Jones & Co, probably after John Taylor
stipple engraving, published 1822
NPG D4071


William Shakespeare with Lucretia and Collatinus

by Richard Sawyer, after William Faithorne
line engraving, published 1827 (1655)
NPG D22940


William Shakespeare

by Benjamin Holl, published by Abraham Wivell, after Laurence Hilliard
stipple engraving, published 1827 (circa 1620)
NPG D25481


Unknown man, possibly a poet, formerly known as William Shakespeare

by William Holl Sr, published by Abraham Wivell
line engraving, published 1827 (circa 1600)
NPG D25482


William Shakespeare

by G.F. Storm
mezzotint, mid 19th century
NPG D19795


William Shakespeare

by T.W. Harland, after Laurence Hilliard
stipple engraving, 1840 (circa 1620)
NPG D25483