An English botanist and historian has claimed discovery of the first and, to-date, only portrait of William Shakespeare made during his lifetime, proving that the Bard was a bit of a bear.
Mark Griffiths claims a small monochrome engraving on the title page of a book published in 1598 — The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes by John Gerard — shows a bearded and elaborately mustachioed 33-year-old Billy Shakes among a group of other notable gentlemen of the period:
The book is full of elaborate decorative devices, flowers and symbols, which surround four male figures. They are Gerard himself, the renowned Flemish botanist Rembert Dodoens, Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Treasurer, Lord Burghley, and a fourth man.
Griffiths said there was no doubt that man was Shakespeare.
"For me it is not about doubt or supposition. I’m faced with a series of facts that I can’t gainsay, as much as I try. This is what these facts are, this is what the symbol decodes as," Griffiths told The Guardian. "All of it adds up to Shakespeare. I can’t make that — and believe me I’ve tried — add up to anybody else but Shakespeare."
At the time of the engraving, Shakespeare was at the height of his celebrity having just written A Midsummer's Night Dream and about to write Hamlet. It's like capturing Bey and Nicki between the "***Flawless Remix" video and the "Feeling Myself" video. It's a pretty big deal.
Griffiths made the discovery five years ago and has been trying to prove it since, consulting with Edward Wilson, emeritus fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.
Accordring to Wilson, "this is the most important contribution to be made to our knowledge of Shakespeare in generations.” And that knowledge is that there was something hot in the state of England around the turn of the century. But then again, we kind of already knew that.
At least that movie got something right (unlike the Oscars).
Les Fabian Brathwaite — OUT! Damned spot! This was my best Chanel.