William Shakespeare Pictures are surprisingly scarce.
Remarkably for a man whose work has enlightened millions,
there are very few Shakespeare pictures and depictions
of the Great Bard with us today.
PORTRAIT IN THE FIRST FOLIO.
Figure, that thou here feeft put,
It was for gentle Shakefpeare cut;
Wherein the Grauer had a ftrife
with Nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but haue drawne his wit
As well in braffe, as he hath hit
His face; the Print would then furpaffe
All, that vvas vvrit in braffe.
But, fince he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his Picture, but his Booke.
IN FRONT OF THE GALLERY, PALL MALL.
this specimen of the sculptor's art Shakespeare is seen
sitting upon a rock, with "Painting and her sister
Poesy" standing one on each side of him. The latter,
on his right, is in the act of presenting him with a
laurel wreath, that signal token of poetic eminence,
while she is at the same time ready with her lyre to
call forth the aid of Music to increase the harmony
of their ovations. Her head is adorned with a double
mask, emblematic of Tragedy and Comedy, in order to
show that she had inspired that unequalled dramatic
poet and inimitable delineator of human nature with
mental powers, both tragic and comic, in such exact
proportion as to render it hard to say in which of them
he was most pre-eminent. On his left, Painting, with
palette in hand, is pointing him out as a genius who
deserved to be glorified, also, by the inherent qualities
with which she herself was specially gifted. (And nobly
has this suggestion of hers been carried out by the
generous enterprise of his enthusiastic admirersthe
original publishers of the Shakespeare Gallery!) The
head of the poet himself is turned towards Poetry with
a look of pleasurable satisfaction, while his hand is
placed approvingly on the shoulder of the Genius of
Sculptured by Thomas Banks, R.A. Engraved by Benjamin
SHAKESPEARE ATTENDED BY NATURE AND THE PASSIONS.
Painted by George Romney. Engraved by Benjamin
NURSED BY TRAGEDY AND COMEDY.
"Soule of the Age! The applause! delight!
the wonder of our Stage!"
Painted by George Romney. Engraved, by Benjamin