A portrait of famous playwright William Shakespeare, which is said to be the only one created during his lifetime, is going on sale for more than 10 million pounds sterling (Rs 96 crore), according to a report in the Independent. It is a signed and dated image of the writer and is currently displayed at the Grosvenor House hotel in west London.
Without holding an auction, the portrait’s owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, is making it available for private treaty sale. The portrait was made by the court painter to King James I, Robert Blake. It is signed and dated 1608, the outlet further said.
The image was formerly displayed in the library of the Danby family’s former stately mansion in the north of England. Since that time, it has been privately owned.
“Those behind its sale claim the connections between Shakespeare and Peake are “extensive”. They say Peake was regularly commissioned to paint the portraits of high-ranking members of the Court and Jacobean society,” the Independent reported.
It further mentions that only two posthumous paintings of Shakespeare are usually accepted as legitimate. These are the engraving on the First Folio’s title page from 1623 and the sculpture at his funeral monument in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Art expert Duncan Phillips, who investigated the work ahead of the sale, told Independent, “There is more evidence for this portrait of Shakespeare than any other known painting of the playwright. The picture has survived the past 400 years almost untouched by wear and tear thanks to its ownership by a family of Shakespeare enthusiasts who hung it in their library.”
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