Artist unknown, The Cobbe Portrait of William Shakespeare, ca. 1610
The Changing Face of William Shakespeare
In 2009, when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon unveiled a previously unknown portrait painting with strong claims to be the only surviving life-time portrait of William Shakespeare, it created an international sensation. The Jacobean painting had hung unrecognized for centuries in an Irish country house belonging to the Cobbe family. Both this portrait and a recently identified portrait of Shakespeare’s patron and dedicatee, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, were inherited by Archbishop Charles Cobbe (1686-1765). Recent technical analysis—as well as the portrait’s superior quality—has established it as the original of a long series of portraits traditionally identified as Shakespeare. The Cobbe portrait has significant resemblances in costume and design to Martin Droeshout’s engraving of Shakespeare published in the First Folio (1623), and bears a Latin inscription, taken from a poem by Horace, addressed to a playwright.
via Medieval Material Culture Blog