He was so certain that this was one and same man he contacted Professor Wells, a famous Shakespeare scholar. Upon seeing the portrait Professor Wells was convinced himself of it's authenticity, especially after finding out that Cobbe's portrait was inherited through his cousin’s marriage to the great granddaughter of Shakespeare’s only literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton.
The portrait was put through all manner of testing possible. As a result Professor Wells and other Shakespearean scholars were convinced that this was the Bard himself. The portrait is now on display in the museum next to Shakespeare's home on Henley street in Stratford.
It is believed the Shakespeare's retired in Straford around 1613. There are no plays attributed to him after this date. He and Anne returned to Straford as a wealthy couple. While driving on the bus down the main street of Stratford last summer it was pointed out to us certain Tudoresque type buildings along the street that were built by Shakespeare as retirement homes. He was very concerned about the elderly that didn't have family. He wanted make sure that they had assisted living provided for them in their later years. I was just blown away by this information. It was just such a forward thinking idea for the time period. To me this information says volumes about the character of this man.
Shakespeare died 23 April 1616 at the age of 52. He is buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. He left the bulk of his estate to his eldest daughter Susanna and one third of his estate along with his second best bed to his wife Anne. Second best bed refers to the matrimonial bed.
As it seems with such great artists, Shakespeare was not revered in his lifetime. He did have success and died a wealthy man. But he had his critics. Over the years there has been much speculation regarding his life and works, such as; Was he gay? Was he really a Catholic during a Protestant reign? Did he really write all of his work, or was it written by another who just used his name? Volumes have been written concerning the above controversies, too much information to share on one little blog. My take is that the Bard was married, had children, was a literary genius, and no saint. He wrote 17 comedies, 10 historical plays, 10 tragedies, and any number of sonnets and poems. He has been the foremost influence in English literature and theatre for the last 400 + years.
My favorite well known quotes by Will are as follows:
Two households, both alike in dignity,In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrowsDoth with their death bury their parents' strife~ Romeo and Juliet
You would be surprised at how many Shakespeare isms we use in our daily life:
- A pound of flesh
- A sorry sight
- An itching palm
- Bated breath
- Budge an inch
- For goodness sake
- Good riddance
- Heart on my sleeve
- In my heart of hearts
- In my mind's eye
- It smells to high heaven
- Knock, Knock! Who's there?
- The milk of human kindness.
These are just a few in over 200 famous quotes from Shakespeare's works. I am sure you recognise these quotes, and like me have used them in conversation many times.
I have so enjoyed this past week posting about Mr. Will!!! Really as a man in literature I revere him. All of this came about because of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event promoting the newly released O Juliet by Robin Maxwell. I look forward to our continued events over this year and hope you will all check often to see what is coming up.