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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 Benjamin Holl, published by George Virtue, after Jacobus Houbraken
stipple engraving, published 1840
NPG D32618


William Shakespeare

by Richard James Lane, after Thomas Baxter
lithograph, 1853
NPG D21778


William Shakespeare

by Richard James Lane, printed by M & N Hanhart, after Thomas Baxter
lithograph, published February 1853
NPG D21779


William Shakespeare

by Sir George Scharf, after Unknown artist
pencil, 29 April 1871
NPG D41915


William Shakespeare

by Charles William Sherborn
line engraving, 1876
NPG D21186


William Shakespeare

after Unknown sculptor, after Gerard Johnson
photographic print, early 20th century
NPG D42285


William Shakespeare

by William Walker & Sons, after Isaac Jaggard, and Edward Blount, after Martin Droeshout
albumen carte-de-visite, 1862-1866 (1623)
NPG Ax9927


William Shakespeare

after a painting attributed to John Taylor
chromolithograph, (circa 1610)
NPG D41643


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

by Richard Earlom, after Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
mezzotint, (circa 1610)
NPG D4208


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
stipple engraving, (circa 1620)
NPG D41659


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
hand-coloured lithograph, (circa 1620)
NPG D41660


William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
mezzotint, (circa 1620)
NPG D18888


William Shakespeare

by Martin Droeshout, printed by Isaac Jaggard, printed by Edward Blount
line engraving, 1623
NPG D40738


William Shakespeare

by and sold by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D41637


Memorial to William Shakespeare for poets' corner in Westminster Abbey

after Hubert-François Gravelot (né Bourguignon), after Peter Scheemakers
etching, 1741
NPG D41656


William Shakespeare

by Jacobus Houbraken, published by John & Paul Knapton
line engraving, 1747
NPG D41636


William Shakespeare

by Jacobus Houbraken, published by John & Paul Knapton
line engraving, 1747
NPG D19134


William Shakespeare

by John Hall
line engraving, 1772
NPG D20349


William Shakespeare

by Jean Marie Delattre
line engraving, published 1786
NPG D41651