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William Marshall Engraving

William Shakespeare

The William Marshall engraving of William Shakespeare
Both the image of William Shakespeare (see above) by William Marshall, adapted by from the Martin Droeshout engraving on the First Folio, and the words of Ben Jonson have considerably changed from the First Folio to the second, 1640 edition of Shakespeare's sonnets. As we said before (see the Collar Theory) the Plot Thickens...

The Words 
The lines below the Marshall image of William Shakespeare are as follows:

This Shadow is renowned Shakespear's? Soule of th' age
The applause? Delight? The wonder of the Stage.
Nature her selfe, was proud of his designs
And joy'd to weare the dressing of his lines,
The learned will confess his works as such
As neither man, nor Muse can praise to much
For ever live thy fame, the world to tell,
Thy like, no age, shall ever paralell

These words parody Ben Jonson's poem to Shakespeare. The insertion of question marks make a complete travesty of the words. 
This Shadow is renowned Shakespear's? Soule of th' age
The applause? Delight? The wonder of the Stage. 
The man who published the edition was called John Benson, an inversion of the name Ben Jonson. The signatory on the First Folio was 'B.I.' - on this version it is signed 'I.B.' and the final instance of inversion is the image itself. 

The Image

  • The image is inverted, turned the other way round

  • The proportions are still all wrong

  • The head is too big for the body

  • The body in proportion would be that of a child 

  • A gloved hand has become visible. This is also out of proportion and looks like the hand of a child

  • The hand is clutching an unidentified plant - someone be "holding on to his laurels"?

  • A cloak has been put over the right hand shoulder

  • The collar is asymmetrical, the right hand side of the collar being 40% bigger than the left

  • The stubble as in the Droeshout image has been replaced by a trimmed moustache and beard

  • The shape of the head has changed

  • View the image through half closed eyes and the light area, behind the head, conveys an even stronger image of a shield

Our views are simple:

  • We do not believe that Martin Droeshout and William Marshall could both be so incompetent as to produce grotesque and disproportionate engravings. It follows, therefore, that if this was not by accident then they were commissioned by design

  • The "Collar Theory" and the issue of the "Doublet" expose a whole new field for research

For further information and debate click the Identity Problem and the Collar Theory links

Further likenesses of William Shakespeare may be obtained by clicking on:

Pictures of William Shakespeare - Painting - Engravings and Stratford, Sanders Portraits and Chandos Portrait / Picture
Memorials / Statues - Pictures from Poets Corner Westminster Abbey, Gower, Roubilliac bust, Stratford
Mystery of the Engraving on the First Folio - Martin Droeshout engraved portrait of William Shakespeare - Identity Problem
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