> the Shakespearans among us will be interested in the
> following report of what may very well be an authentic portrait from
> 1603: <>.
>I read it with bated breath waiting to see what Toronto-area
>palaeographer had been consulted about the hand-written note on the
>back (instead of us!), and it appears they haven't had anyone look at
>the handwriting -- what a disappointment!

Interesting article, but the author makes a number of extremely
dubious factual claims:

"It shows a Shakespeare with fluffy red
hair and blue-green eyes, an appearance that matches descriptions of
him in the journals of his contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and
Francis Bacon."

There exist no journals by Christopher Marlowe, or any samples of
his handwriting except for a single signature written in 1585.  Quite
a few of Francis Bacon's papers survive, and some might be considered
journals, but none of these make any mention of Shakespeare, let
alone describe his physical appearance.  (There is the famous
Northumberland MS, used as a wrapper for some of Bacon's papers --
this does contain Shakespeare's name several times among a lot of
scribbling, but this is in a hand other than Bacon's.)

"The painting is reputed to be by one John Sanders, born in Worcester,
England, and christened in March, 1575. The Canadian owner can
trace his genealogy back to Mr. Sanders, who appears on the list of
players in playbills of the era for various theatrical companies, including
that of the King's Players, the same troupe as William Shakespeare. He
performed in small roles, and sometimes painted backdrops."

I have no idea where they got these claims.  There is no record of
a John Sanders acting with the King's Men or any other company at
the appropriate time.  No such person is indexed in my Biographical
Index of Elizabethan Theatre
(  There was a
William Sanders who was a musician with the King's Men in the 1620s;
there was also a John Sands who was a provincial puppet showman
in the 1620s.  James Sands was a minor actor with the King's Men in
the first decade of the 17th century, and his sister Cecily married
the actor Robert Browne, who for a time was a sharer in the Globe.
I see that the online IGI does list a John Sanders christened in
Worcester in March 1575, but I know of no evidence that this person
had any connection with the theater.

For all I know this portrait could be authentic, but the dubious
genealogy claimed by the owner is no help in that regard.

Dave Kathman
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