Shakespeare Artwork Made Available for Free by English Staff

In preparation for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the University of Roehampton has digitised a series of prints depicting scenes from plays such as As You Like It, The Tempest and Hamlet.

Posted: 19 April 2016

image for news story Shakespeare Artwork Made Available for Free by English Staff
The Tempest Act I Scene I. An engraving of a painting by Henry Fuseli, a Swiss painter who greatly influenced the Romanic Period in art, and artists such as William Blake.

The original paintings and their prints were commissioned in the late 18th century for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery on Pall Mall, near Buckingham Palace in central London. The scenes, from a variety of plays including The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, are now available online under a Creative Commons licence.

The project has been led by Research Fellow Dr Mary Shannon of the Department of English and Creative Writing. This new visual resource is now available for use by teachers, scholars, art historians, students, and the general public, and will increase engagement with Shakespeare and his works.

Dr Shannon said: “We are delighted to bring these artists’ interpretations of classic scenes from some of Shakespeare’s best known plays to wider audiences. This is a significant success for scholars and fans of The Bard, and we’re already seeing its usefulness. While this work has generated immediate academic attention, it is also of wider significance to the public and to our own students, who will benefit from easier access to these valuable research materials about Shakespeare and his plays.”

The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery was set up by two print publishers in London and was open between 1789 and 1805. The paintings were created by major artists of the day, and prints of these were made to illustrate a volume of Shakespeare plays.

  • Shakespeare: As You Like It
  • Shakespeare: Hamlet and Ghost
  • Shakespeare: King Henry IV
  • Shakespeare: King Lear
  • Shakespeare: Othello
  • Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
  • Shakespeare: The Tempest

The original negatives were provided by Professor Frederick Burwick from the University of California. To view more of the prints now online, visit the online gallery here.

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