Shakespeare in Art: Tempests, Tyrants and Tragedy
19 March – 19 June 2016
A collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the exhibition commemorates the 400th anniversary of the great playwright’s death.
On 23 April, as estimates place it, it will be 400 years since William Shakespeare died mysteriously at the age of 52 – just one month after declaring himself in ‘perfect health’ as he signed his will.
Despite never actually publishing a play himself – this was done posthumously by actors he had worked with – his contribution to literature has been remarkable; in the years since his death the bard’s his work has been translated into every major living language and has been responsible for introducing more than 3000 words to the English dictionary.
But the scope of his influence has spread far beyond the page. In this special anniversary year, Compton Verney in Shakespeare’s home county of Warwickshire, examines his work specifically in regard to its relationship with art. From the late 18th century Shakespeare’s plays were a hugely popular source of inspiration for painters – perhaps most famously the Pre-Raphaelites – but also Singer Sargent, Fuseli, Watts and Romney.
Their work is represented here, where it is shown alongside that of contemporary artists such as Tom Hunter, whose photographic series reimagines A Midsummer’s Night Dream in modern-day Hackney.
Specially-commissioned audio recordings of Shakespeare’s plays performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company bring the display to life.