I’m afraid this is going to be another short post from me, I have been clearing off my desk and preparing for an exciting new work situation. But I couldn’t let the Friday go by without one fake for you, so here it is. It belonged to the Flower Family, who bought it in the nineteenth century and bequeathed it the Shakespeare Memorial Trust around 1890. It is now owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

At one time this was consdiered the oldest and most authentic portrait of the great English playwright William Shakespeare. Beyond this portrait the only remotely accurate image we have of the Bard is taken from lithograph that was on the frontispiece of the first collected edition of his plays in the 1620s. Which is rather ironic, given that analysis in the 20th century has indicated that this painting was probably copied off the lithograph.

Researches at the National Portrait Gallery in London confirmed it was a fake when they found traces of chrome yellow in the Bard’s doublet on the normal layer of paint, a substance that was not available until 1814.