For hundreds of years nobody knew this was Shakespeare
It’s not every week that England’s greatest playwright William Shakespeare hits the headlines, but the Bard of Avon has been the subject of two news stories in recent days as new information has come to light about the writer and his working environment.
In the first development, a portrait of Shakespeare, which is believed to be the only picture painted of him during his lifetime, was unveiled in London.
The artwork has been dated back to 1610, meaning it was painted six years before the writer’s death.
The painting had been owned by a family descended from Shakespeare’s literary patron for hundreds of years without them ever knowing who the man in the picture was.
Alec Cobbe, who inherited the portrait, realised that the painting was a likeness of Shakespeare after visiting an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery where he saw a portrait that had, until 70 years ago, been accepted as a life portrait of Shakespeare.
Mr Cobbe immediately realised he was looking at a copy of the painting that had been in his family for centuries.
The painting will now go on display in Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford-upon-Avon.
In a separate story, archaeologists in London believe they have unearthed the remains of Shakespeare’s first theatre.
The site was excavated by a team from the Museum of London last summer, and is believed to have been built in 1576.
Experts think that Shakespeare himself acted at the theatre, which may have been where the play Romeo and Juliet was premiered.
It is believed that 25 years after construction, the building was dismantled and moved timber by timber to the South Bank of the Thames, where a reconstruction of the theatre now stands.