Shakespeare's Portrait
  • This is the account of the production of a portrait of William Shakespeare using an anatomical drawing of his skull, the Chandos portrait and Droeshout etching, and thereby forensically constructing a portrait of the man himself. Below is some detail of the face. 
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    Shakespeare's headstone reads: 

    'Good friend for Jesus sake forbear
    To dig the dust enclosed here.
    Blessed be the man that spares these stones
    and cursed be he that moves my bones.'

    First of all we shall look at what other background material exists.

Marlow? This portrait is called the
Sander's portrait of Shakespeare
and is dated 1603.
Variation on Sanders
Martin Droeshout's engraving
of Shakespeare.
From a copy of the First Folio.
Martin Droeshout's engraving
of Shakespeare reversed.
The portrait above is the so called
"Chandos Portrait" of 

This is a phrenological drawing of Shakespeare's skull dated 1807 and perhaps attributed to the French natural scientist Georges Curvier when a follower of the Viennese physician and phrenologist Franz-Joseph Gall.

Though the original skull, from whence the drawing was taken, is yet undiscovered it is speculated to be part of the collection taken to America by another follower of Gall, Johann Kaspar Spurzheim. Rumour has it that an infamous 'resurrection man' (transported to New Holland) was responsible for obtaining the skull for the business man and amateur natural scientist James Deville who either took it, or had it sent, to Paris and the 'Institut de France' where it finally came into the posession of Spurzheim.


The original scan has been enhanced and overlaid with images so as to check its forensic provenence - and hence to begin to develop a possible further visual extrapolation. Note the final head is tilted slightly which accounts for the slight forshortening of the upper jaw.

Should you wish to use any of these images please email John Hagan
Or my copyright agent: Professor Herb Ford, email Herb Ford
Pacific Union College, Angwin CA.
070 965 6417


Copyright ©John Hagan. 1997-2004 all rights reserved.
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