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William Shakespeare

(1564-1616), Dramatist and poet

Sitter associated with 96 portraits
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon and 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 Unknown artist - NPG D7217

William Shakespeare

by Unknown artist
electrotype, 19th century
NPG D7217

William Shakespeare, published by William Smith, after  Martin Droeshout - NPG D40737

William Shakespeare

published by William Smith, after Martin Droeshout
line engraving, early 19th century
NPG D40737

William Shakespeare, after Unknown artist - NPG D41645

William Shakespeare

after Unknown artist
albumen print, possibly 19th century
NPG D41645

William Shakespeare, by William Holl Sr, published by  Vernor, Hood & Sharpe - NPG D41652

William Shakespeare

by William Holl Sr, published by Vernor, Hood & Sharpe
stipple engraving, early 19th century
NPG D41652

William Shakespeare, by Unknown artist - NPG D41654

William Shakespeare

by Unknown artist
stipple engraving, 19th century
NPG D41654

William Shakespeare, by Charles Warren - NPG D25487

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 - NPG D21646

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, published by  Machell Stace - NPG D40743

William Shakespeare

by Robert Cooper, published by Machell Stace
stipple engraving printed in colour, published 1 January 1811
NPG D40743

William Shakespeare, by Robert Cooper - NPG D18819

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Charles Turner, published by  James Dunford - NPG D41642

William Shakespeare

by Charles Turner, published by James Dunford
mezzotint, published 22 May 1815
NPG D41642

William Shakespeare, by James Godby, published and sold by  Edward Orme, after  Giovanni Battista Cipriani - NPG D41646

William Shakespeare

by James Godby, published and sold by Edward Orme, after Giovanni Battista Cipriani
stipple engraving, published 4 June 1815
NPG D41646

William Shakespeare, by William Ward, printed by  Lahee & Co, published by  John Britton, after  Thomas Phillips, after  George Bullock, after  Gerard Johnson - NPG D41657

William Shakespeare

by William Ward, printed by Lahee & Co, published by John Britton, after Thomas Phillips, after George Bullock, after Gerard Johnson
mezzotint, published 23 April 1816 (circa 1620)
NPG D41657

William Shakespeare, by William Ward, printed by  Lahee & Co, published by  John Britton, after  Thomas Phillips, after  George Bullock, after  Gerard Johnson - NPG D41658

William Shakespeare

by William Ward, printed by Lahee & Co, published by John Britton, after Thomas Phillips, after George Bullock, after Gerard Johnson
mezzotint, published 23 April 1816 (circa 1620)
NPG D41658

William Shakespeare, by William Ward, published by  John Britton, after  Thomas Phillips, after  George Bullock, after  Gerard Johnson - NPG D42286

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, after Unknown English artist - NPG D41639

William Shakespeare

after Unknown English artist
offset lithograph, (circa 1820-1840)
NPG D41639

William Shakespeare, after Unknown English artist - NPG D41640

William Shakespeare

after Unknown English artist
photograph, (circa 1820-1840)
NPG D41640

William Shakespeare, by James Heath, published by  Jones & Co, probably after  John Taylor - NPG D4071

William Shakespeare

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

Unknown gentleman, possibly Sir Thomas Overbury, previously known as William Shakespeare, by Robert Cooper, published by  Sherwood, Jones & Co, after  Richard Earlom, after  Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist - NPG D41649

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

by Robert Cooper, published by Sherwood, Jones & Co, after Richard Earlom, after Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
mezzotint, published June 1825
NPG D41649

William Shakespeare with Lucretia and Collatinus, by Richard Sawyer, after  William Faithorne - NPG D22940

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 - NPG D25481

William Shakespeare

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

Media

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