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William Shakespeare

(1564-1616), Dramatist and poet

Sitter associated with 105 portraits
The most celebrated English playwright and poet, Shakespeare is held as one of the greatest writers of all time. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, he spent most of his working life in London, first as an actor, then a playwright. Whereas many poets of the time were wealthy amateurs, dramatists were usually professionals whose income came from supplying plays to the public theatres and court. The texts of plays belonged to the theatres and were seen as ephemeral, soon to be replaced. 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.

More on William Shakespeare: Tudor & Jacobean Portraits book in our Shops | Shakespeare and his contemporaries book in our Shops

Explore the Shakespeare Duck portrait (NPG D48052) from all angles | the Lego Shakespeare portrait (NPG D48054) from all angles | the Derby Porcelain Factory Shakespeare portrait (NPG D48654) from all angles | the William Shakespeare portrait bust (NPG D48655) from all angles

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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

Unknown man, possibly a poet, formerly known as William Shakespeare, by William Holl Sr, published by  Abraham Wivell - NPG D25482

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 William Holl Sr, published by and after  Abraham Wivell - NPG D41650

William Shakespeare

by William Holl Sr, published by and after Abraham Wivell
stipple engraving, published 1827
NPG D41650

William Shakespeare's interview with Queen Elizabeth I, by William Ensom, after  Thomas Stothard - NPG D41664

William Shakespeare's interview with Queen Elizabeth I

by William Ensom, after Thomas Stothard
etching and line engraving, 1828
NPG D41664

William Shakespeare, published by T.H. Ellis, after  John Taylor - NPG D40744

William Shakespeare

published by T.H. Ellis, after John Taylor
line and stipple engraving, mid 19th century (circa 1610)
NPG D40744

Unknown gentleman, possibly Sir Thomas Overbury, previously known as William Shakespeare, published by Richard Griffin & Co, after  Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist - NPG D41653

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

published by Richard Griffin & Co, after Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
line engraving, mid 19th century (circa 1610)
NPG D41653

William Shakespeare, by G.F. Storm - NPG D19795

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare before Sir Thomas Lucy for Shooting his Deer, by James Egan, after  Alexander Chisholm - NPG D41662

William Shakespeare before Sir Thomas Lucy for Shooting his Deer

by James Egan, after Alexander Chisholm
mezzotint, (exhibited 1834)
NPG D41662

William Shakespeare, by T.W. Harland, after  Laurence Hilliard - NPG D25483

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Benjamin Holl, published by  George Virtue, after  Jacobus Houbraken - NPG D32618

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Samuel Cousins, after a painting attributed to  John Taylor - NPG D40739

William Shakespeare

by Samuel Cousins, after a painting attributed to John Taylor
mezzotint, published June 1849 (circa 1610)
NPG D40739

William Shakespeare, by Richard Austin Artlett, after a painting attributed to  John Taylor - NPG D40740

William Shakespeare

by Richard Austin Artlett, after a painting attributed to John Taylor
line and stipple engraving, circa 1850-1873 (circa 1610)
NPG D40740

William Shakespeare, published by W.N. Wright, after a painting attributed to  Richard Burbage (Burbadge) - NPG D41641

William Shakespeare

published by W.N. Wright, after a painting attributed to Richard Burbage (Burbadge)
lithograph, published 4 June 1851
NPG D41641

William Shakespeare, by Richard James Lane, after  Thomas Baxter - NPG D21778

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 - NPG D21779

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 a painting attributed to  John Taylor - NPG D40741

William Shakespeare

by Sir George Scharf, after a painting attributed to John Taylor
lithograph, circa 1856 (circa 1610)
NPG D40741

William Shakespeare, by James Faed the Elder, published by  Henry Graves & Co, after  John Faed - NPG D41647

William Shakespeare

by James Faed the Elder, published by Henry Graves & Co, after John Faed
mezzotint, published 20 June 1859
NPG D41647

William Shakespeare, by James Faed the Elder, published by  Henry Graves & Co, after  John Faed - NPG D41648

William Shakespeare

by James Faed the Elder, published by Henry Graves & Co, after John Faed
mezzotint, published 1859
NPG D41648

William Shakespeare, by Unknown artist - NPG D48655

William Shakespeare

by Unknown artist
Staffordshire pottery bust, circa 1860s
NPG D48655

William Shakespeare and Muse, by Charles Henry Jeens, published by  Henry Graves & Co, after  Edward William John Hopley - NPG D41663

William Shakespeare and Muse

by Charles Henry Jeens, published by Henry Graves & Co, after Edward William John Hopley
stipple and line engraving, published 15 August 1861
NPG D41663

William Shakespeare, by and published by Day & Son, after  Martin Droeshout - NPG D40736

William Shakespeare

by and published by Day & Son, after Martin Droeshout
lithograph, published 9 April 1864 (1623)
NPG D40736

Shakespeare und die englische Literatur 1564-1864 (includes William Shakespeare and 87 other sitters), published by Friedrich Bruckmann, after  Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger - NPG D46392

Shakespeare und die englische Literatur 1564-1864 (includes William Shakespeare and 87 other sitters)

published by Friedrich Bruckmann, after Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger
photographic print, 1864 or after
NPG D46392

Shakespeare und die englische Literatur 1564-1864 (includes William Shakespeare and 87 other sitters), published by Friedrich Bruckmann, after  Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger - NPG D46393

Shakespeare und die englische Literatur 1564-1864 (includes William Shakespeare and 87 other sitters)

published by Friedrich Bruckmann, after Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger
lithograph, 1864 or after
NPG D46393

Hero v. Bard (William Shakespeare; Giuseppe Garibaldi), by Unknown artist - NPG D13122

Hero v. Bard (William Shakespeare; Giuseppe Garibaldi)

by Unknown artist
wood engraving, published by Fun 1864
NPG D13122

William Shakespeare, by Sir George Scharf, after  Unknown artist - NPG D41915

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Charles William Sherborn - NPG D21186

William Shakespeare

by Charles William Sherborn
line engraving, 1876
NPG D21186

William Shakespeare ('Gower Memorial'), by Douglas James McNeille, after  Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower - NPG D41661

William Shakespeare ('Gower Memorial')

by Douglas James McNeille, after Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
albumen print, (1888)
NPG D41661

William Shakespeare, after Unknown sculptor, after  Gerard Johnson - NPG D42285

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, published by The Teacher's World, after a portrait associated with  John Taylor - NPG D48663

William Shakespeare

published by The Teacher's World, after a portrait associated with John Taylor
relief halftone, published 11 April 1917
NPG D48663

Unknown man called William Shakespeare, after Unknown artist - NPG D41644

Unknown man called William Shakespeare

after Unknown artist
albumen print, before 1919?
NPG D41644

William Shakespeare, issued by Sarony & Co, after  John Taylor - NPG D48918

William Shakespeare

issued by Sarony & Co, after John Taylor
gravure cigarette card, 1923 (circa 1600-1610)
NPG D48918

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare's Birthplace Stratford Upon Avon'), by Unknown artist, for  British Railways - NPG D48065

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare's Birthplace Stratford Upon Avon')

by Unknown artist, for British Railways
poster, 1948
NPG D48065

Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso), after Harry Norman Eccleston, after  William Kent - NPG D48662

Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso)

after Harry Norman Eccleston, after William Kent
steel engraved currency note, 1970-1991
NPG D48662

William Shakespeare ('William Shakespeare Lego Minifigure'), by Unknown artist - NPG D48054

William Shakespeare ('William Shakespeare Lego Minifigure')

by Unknown artist
moulded plastic Lego figure, 2014
NPG D48054

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare Duck'), by Unknown artist - NPG D48052

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare Duck')

by Unknown artist
moulded plastic, 2018
NPG D48052

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare Pill Box'), by Unknown artist - NPG D48053

William Shakespeare ('Shakespeare Pill Box')

by Unknown artist
metal pill box, 2018
NPG D48053

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

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

Web image not currently available

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

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

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

after Gerard Johnson
mezzotint, (circa 1620)
NPG D18888

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

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

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

by John Hall
line engraving, 1772
NPG D20349

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

by John Godefroy, published by William Richardson
line engraving, published 28 March 1796
NPG D19488

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

by Charles Turner
mezzotint, circa 1825-1850
NPG D18898

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

by Richard Austin Artlett, after a painting attributed to John Taylor
line and stipple engraving, circa 1850-1873 (circa 1610)
NPG D19482

Web image not currently available

William Shakespeare

by Unknown artist
line engraving
NPG D19516

Media

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