April 1st, 2006

bear by san

(no subject)

Book #31: silme's copy of Searching for Shakespeare, the hefty guide to the National Portrait Gallery exhibit I will be seeing while I am here. (Not the little one I lent you, cheshyre)

I haven't much to say about this except squee. This is a collection of essays on various topics and individuals and objects on display in the exhibit. And they have some Cool Stuff. Like Will's, er, will. And the Sir Thomas More manuscript. And the various portraits, including the recently conserved Grafton portrait.

I hold with thems that think it looks more like the Corpus Christi portrait that is allegedly but not certainly Kit, but I gave Will blue eyes anyway, because what the hell. There's also an early (17th century) copy of the Chandos portrait (current front-runner for an accurate one--see icon) that's in much better shape, without the longer hair, modified beard, faded varnish, and so forth. Will looks all milky-complected and English all of a sudden, without the coat of yellowing shellac.

The original is unconservable with current technology, due to wear and earlier bad restoration efforts.

The coolness factor is high. Pity they didn't manage to borrow the surviving Marlowe signature, or any of Ben's.

Anyway. Will be buying my own copy of this book. For later petting.
bear by san

dissed again

Probably nobody could have missed this who was watching the news lately, but a Shakespeare First Folio, nearly complete, is set to be auctioned off at Sotheby's in July. (This guy doesn't approve.)

This particular book is notable in that it has, as near as anybody can figure the provenance, never left London. (So of course they're talking about sending it on a world tour. Way to break a streak, guys.)

The book has sort of a charming backstory, in that it's from the collection of a Puritan who nevertheless went out of his way to preserve any number of scurrilous tomes, though whether because he liked art or he liked reading them under the covers with a flashlight, I'm not quite sure we'll ever know. That library has become the foundation for another library, one with a more charitable bent. They are auctioning off the Shakespeare because they can no longer afford to keep it (insurance premiums) and also to pay for maintaining the rest of the collection.

It's expected to go for millions.

So, what's missing from this "nearly complete" edition?

Ben Jonson's dedicatory poem.

(Somewhere over there, mcurry is laughing at arcaedia. I happen to know that they have a running bet about how long it will take me to interject Ben into any conversation regarding English literature. I'm not sure, however, that money changes hands.)

And on that note, I'm off to Cambridge. See you Sunday!