LONDON – Scholars studying the life and times of William Shakespeare unveiled a portrait Monday believed to be the only authentic image of the Bard painted during his lifetime.
Experts at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust believe the painting was used as the basis for the enduring engraving of Shakespeare that graces the cover of the First Folio collection of his plays.
Paul Edmondson, the group’s director of learning, said it was also used as a basis for the famous portrait of the playwright that hangs in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
“What makes it so important is that it’s a portrait of William Shakespeare made during his lifetime,” he said. “We think it was painted in 1610 and several copies of it were made early on, including the engraving. So our portrait is the primary version of one of the greatest portraits of Shakespeare.”