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Enamel portrait of William Shakespeare

11/13/2009
Enamelled Medallion depicting a portrait of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare Medallion, Bilston, 1764 - 1769, BI446

In 1769, a jubilee celebration of William Shakespeare’s life and works was held in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The event was organised by David Garrick (1717-1779), the actor-manager famed for his portrayals of Shakespearian characters.  This oval medallion is a souvenir of the event.

A portrait of Shakespeare is transfer printed on the white enamel base, along with the words ‘Stratford Jubilee Sept 7 176-‘.  The inscription along the top edge reads, “We ne’er shall look upon his eke again”.

Unfortunately, the jubilee was not a success and was widely ridiculed as a fiasco. Heavy rain and overcrowding ruined many of the events and forced Garrick to cut short the celebrations after two days.

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