First Portrait Of Shakespeare?

shakespeare_1362495cA painting that may be the only surviving portrait of William Shakespeare made in his lifetime will be unveiled. The Telegraph reports: ‘The picture, from 1610, six years before the playwright’s death, has been in the possession of the Cobbe family since the early 18th century. It was initially kept at a property in Hampshire but more recently in Hatchlands, the family house in Surrey, which is run by the National Trust. For three centuries the family was unsure of the identity of the figure in the portrait. (The portrait here, by Gerard Soest, was painted after Shakespeare’s death.)
According to Alec Cobbe, an art restorer, at one time it had been thought to be of Sir Walter Raleigh. Although the painting has not been proven to be the bard, it has the backing of the world’s foremost expert on Shakespeare, Stanley Wells, emeritus professor of Shakespeare studies at Birmingham University and chairman of the Shakespeare Birthday Trust. Prof Wells believes it was painted when the writer was 46 years old, six years before his death in 1616.’

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