Back in March, I blogged about the unveiling of the Cobbe portrait – believed to be the only authenticated likeness of Shakespeare as it was painted during his lifetime. Since the unveiling of the newly-restored canvas in April, it has been on public display in Stratford-upon-Avon next door to Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
I was pleased to read last week that, due to intense public interest, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has extended the exhibition until 4 October 2009. The Cobbe portrait has attracted 20,000 visitors from around the world in only six months and has “set the cat amongst the pigeons” for Shakespeare scholars.
In particular, many believe that the existence of the Cobbe portrait challenges some of the Shakespeare authorship conspiracies.
Personally, the Cobbe portrait continues to excite me because it is a very tangible piece of historic evidence to fuel debate amongst Shakespeare scholars. New Shakespeare-related evidence rarely surfaces, so I think we should savor every moment of the excitement (and controversy) that the Cobbe portrait brings us.
The Cobbe portrait of William Shakespeare will be on display at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon until 4 October 2009.
What’s your reaction to the Cobbe portrait? Perhaps you’ve visited the exhibition? Perhaps you doubt its authenticity? As always, I can’t wait to read your views.
Copyright notice: The Cobbe Portrait of William Shakespeare is reproduced by agreement between The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the copyright holders