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John Fletcher

1 of 14 portraits of John Fletcher

John Fletcher, after Unknown artist, late 17th century (circa 1620) - NPG 420 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Fletcher

after Unknown artist
oil on canvas, late 17th century (circa 1620)
29 in. x 24 1/4 in. (737 mm x 616 mm)
Purchased, 1876
Primary Collection
NPG 420


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Sitterback to top

  • John Fletcher (1579-1625), Dramatist. Sitter associated with 14 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

One of the most important playwrights in Jacobean London, Fletcher is particularly known for his extremely successful collaborations with Francis Beaumont, including Philaster (c.1609), The Maid's Tragedy (c.1610) and A King and No King (1611). Fletcher also wrote several plays himself, and collaborated on works with other playwrights, including Shakespeare for Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen (both 1613). This portrait shows Fletcher holding a laurel branch, a traditional attribute of writers and poets. The laurel, a symbol of eternity owing to its evergreen properties, is used to suggest that while no man is immortal, great works survive for posterity.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • MacLeod, Catherine, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection at Montacute House, 1999, p. 24
  • Nicholl, Charles, Character Sketches: Elizabethan Writers, 1997, p. 27
  • Nicholl, Charles, Insights: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, 2005, p. 46
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 222
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 122