Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Shakespeare's Face Discovered?

Recently, a botanist claimed to have discovered what he believes to be a portrait of William Shakespeare.

Mark Griffiths has spent several years investigating this image and the book in which the portrait is found, and has written an article in Country Life magazine about his discovery.

The book with what might be Shakespeare's portrait is John Gerard's Herball, published in 1597 as the most comprehensive book on botany of the time.

On the title page are four male figures, including Gerard himself, a famous botanist Rembert Dodoens, and William Cecil, Lord Burghley, the most famous statesmen in England.

There is no controversy or mystery about these men.

Lord Burghley on the left.
Is that Shakespeare on the right?

It is the fourth male figure that is the real mystery, which Mr. Griffiths claims is none other than Shakespeare himself, at about 33 years old.

If this is true, then this would be the only image we have of Shakespeare, that can be proved was made during his lifetime.

Here are some links to Mr. Griffiths' articles about this discovery, in chronological order:

There are arguments on either side, for against the idea that this is Shakespeare. Some argue that it could be Walter Raleigh, or the Earl of Oxford, etc.

Professor Stanley Wells argues against it, here:

 But here is a rather good argument that it is indeed Shakespeare:

Mark Griffiths

I don't know if it is the face of Shakespeare. Honestly, I am not all that interested in what Shakespeare looked like. I am more interested in how his mind worked, and how he was able to become the greatest writer in the world, at a time when such a thing was very difficult and fraught with great risk.

However, I like to think that this is indeed the face of Shakespeare.


Because my own work also proves that Shakespeare was not some obscure jobbing playwright, some mere servant at Queen Elizabeth's court.

No, Shakespeare was arguably the most famous man in England, and he rivalled the greatest courtiers of the day -- men like Walter Raleigh, and Lord Burghley -- in their power and influence.

It comes as no surprise to me that he would be celebrated on the title page of a botany book next to the most powerful man in England, Lord Burghley, the Queen's right hand.

We have come to believe that Shakespeare was not a figure in the Queen's court because it is easier to think of him as an idealized artist, who wrote poetry and drama purely for its own sake, and was disconnected to the politics of the day.

But when we think of him like this, we insult his memory. We rob him of his true story, a story in which he wrote poetry and plays that were full of the politics of the day.

He was a flesh and blood human being, who struggled with his art, as he struggled to survive the politics and religious fractionalism of the day.

Mark Hedges, the Editor of Country Life magazine, says that with this discovery of Shakespeare's portrait in Gerard's Herball, that Shakespeare's "involvement with the elite of Elizabethan England is going to be a fundamental new way of thinking about SX and what he did and how he operated."

I congratulate Mr. Griffiths and Mr. Hedges for bringing this discovery to the world. It is long overdue.

I hope that this discovery will open our minds to a different Shakespeare, and we can begin to look at Shakespeare in a different light.


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