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William Shakespeare

(1564-1616), Dramatist and poet

Sitter associated with 104 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.

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William Shakespeare, by George Vertue - NPG D25489

William Shakespeare

by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D25489

William Shakespeare, by and sold by George Vertue - NPG D41637

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by and sold by George Vertue - NPG D11109

William Shakespeare

by and sold by George Vertue
line engraving, 1719
NPG D11109

William Shakespeare, by Gerard Vandergucht - NPG D25485

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, after Unknown artist - NPG D5945

William Shakespeare

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

Memorial to William Shakespeare for poets' corner in Westminster Abbey, after Hubert-François Gravelot (né Bourguignon), after  Peter Scheemakers - NPG D41656

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 - NPG D25480

William Shakespeare

by Jacobus Houbraken
line engraving, 1747
NPG D25480

William Shakespeare, by Jacobus Houbraken, published by  John & Paul Knapton - NPG D41636

William Shakespeare

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

David Garrick; William Shakespeare, by John Sebastian Miller (formerly Johann Sebastian Müller) - NPG D20571

David Garrick; William Shakespeare

by John Sebastian Miller (formerly Johann Sebastian Müller)
stipple engraving, published 1769
NPG D20571

William Shakespeare, possibly by Henry Brocas the Elder - NPG D25486

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Derby Porcelain Factory - NPG D48654

William Shakespeare

by Derby Porcelain Factory
soft paste porcelain, circa 1770
NPG D48654

William Shakespeare, by John Hall, probably after  John Taylor - NPG D32488

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by John Goldar, probably after  John Taylor - NPG D20572

William Shakespeare

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

William Shakespeare, by Jean Marie Delattre - NPG D41651

William Shakespeare

by Jean Marie Delattre
line engraving, published 1786
NPG D41651

William Shakespeare, by Robert Cooper, after a painting attributed to  John Taylor - NPG D40742

William Shakespeare

by Robert Cooper, after a painting attributed to John Taylor
stipple engraving, 1864 or before (circa 1610)
NPG D40742

William Shakespeare, by John Godefroy, published by  William Richardson - NPG D41638

William Shakespeare

by John Godefroy, published by William Richardson
line engraving, published 28 March 1796
NPG D41638

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