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 Soest, Gerard (Dutch painter in England, ca.1600-1681) , Soest Portrait of Shakespeare

Core Record

Title Soest Portrait of Shakespeare
Collection Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon
Artist Soest, Gerard (Dutch painter in England, ca.1600-1681)
Date Earliest about 1660
Date Latest about 1680
Description A portrait of Shakespeare by Gerard Soest. It appears to have been based on the painting thought to have been painted by John Taylor in about 1610 known as the 'Chandos' Portrait (National Portrait Gallery). Characteristic images of Shakespeare's gently wavy hair, his neatly trimmed but slightly sparse beard and his falling collar, all refer back to this portrait. The figured doublet, however, with its slashed wings represents a late seventeenth century idea of what Elizabethan costume would have looked like.
Current Accession Number STRST:SBT1994-19/183
Subject portrait (Shakespeare, William)
Measurements 72.5 x 61 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bought from Antiqualia Lda., Lisbon Portugal in 1959.
Provenance Sir Thomas Clarges, c. 1667; Thomas Wright, c. 1685 - c. 1725; William Douglas, Esq., c. 1790; Captain Drake sale, Tregoning, Penryn, Cornwall, 30 March 1807, lot 19, as Portrait of Shakespeare, supposed by Zoust, 2' 9§ x 2' 1§ in a black and gilt frame; John Lister Kaye (Sir), c.1827; Stamford (Earl of); J. F. Grey, (Sir); Christie's sale, 9 April 1954, lot 92.
Publications Boase, T. S. R., The Oxford History of English Art, 1957, vol. 8, pp.182-184; Hain Friswell, J., Life Portraits of William Shakespeare1864, pp. 87-91; Parker Norris, J., Portraits of Shakespeare, 1885, pp. 201-203; Inquiry into the Shakespeare Portraits by James Boeden1824; Piper, D., The Image of the poet: British Poets and their Portraits, 1982, pp. 40 - 42; Wivell, A., Inquiry into the History, Authenticity & characteristics of the Shakespeare Portraits: together with an exposé of the spurious pictures and prints: in which the criticisms of Malone, Stevens, Boaden, and others, are examined, confirmed, or refuted, 1827, pp. 157-164; Fox, L., 'The Soest Portrait of Shakespeare', The Shakespeare Survey, vol.15, 1962, p. 130; Malone, E., Shakespeare vol. 1, 1790, p. 127; ‘Notebooks', The Walpole Society, vol. 24, 1936, pp. 13 -14 (note of an actor sitting as Shakespeare, but to Lely rather than Soest).
Notes An anecdote in The Gentleman's Magazine (1759) relates that Clarges (the first owner of the portrait) commissioned a young actor who looked like Shakespeare to sit for the portrait. However, the artist refered to in this anecdote is Sir Peter Lely and not Soest; The mezzotint of Shakespeare by John Simon, about 1725, is documented to have been based upon the Soest portrait, then in the possession of Thomas Wright, painter of Covent Garden (Malone, E. 1790). This account has helped establish attribution. Apart from this, according to Levi Fox, David Piper believed that the portrait is either Soest's original or a replica of it by Soest himself. According to Piper, Soest rarely signed his pictures.
Rights Owner Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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