Face to Face with Shakespeare at Hatchlands Park

Visit us at Hatchlands throughout May to see a new re-hanging of portraits to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The Cobbe portrait of Shakespeare will be the centrepiece of the display, surrounded by related pictures from our tenant Alec Cobbe’s collection.

The Cobbe Shakespeare portrait
Our Face to Face with Shakespeare display will be open to visitors from Sunday 4 September until Sunday 16 October. It’ll be available to view when our house is open, every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoon from 2pm until 5.30pm. This display is free for all our visitors but our normal property admission fee still applies.
 
The Cobbe portrait is displayed together with a youthful portrait of his only known literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, to whom the Bard dedicated his two great poems (Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece) and possibly some of the Sonnets. The two portraits were inherited by Archbishop Cobbe in the early 18th century and have been together through centuries in the same family ownership. 
Could this be the 'fair youth' of the sonnets?
The Cobbe portrait of Henry Wriothesley
Could this be the 'fair youth' of the sonnets?

Also on display are portraits of various members of the Wriothesley and Cobbe families, a letter from the Earl of Southampton whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London and a Fourth Folio containing 43 plays.
 
Evidence uncovered by researchers at the Shakepeare Birthplace Trust in 2009 led to the claim that the Cobbe Shakespeare portrait is the only portrait of Shakespeare painted during his lifetime. It has already been the centrepiece of two exhibitions dedicated to it at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York. As with all things Shakespeare, since the discovery of the Cobbe portrait, some scholars have celebrated and others disputed the identification, which contributes to a healthy debate.
" The painting has long been an enigma and has been in great demand since claims were made that it’s a portrait of Shakespeare. This is an opportunity to see the painting in context as part of the collection and decide for yourself whether you’re looking at the face of the Bard."
- Donald Ramsay | General Manager, Hatchlands Park