Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Stratford Monument

Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


One of the earliest images we have of “Shakespeare” is this illustration of the Shakspere monument in Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon, done in 1656. About fifty years later, another engraving, this time intended for an edition of Shakespeare’s works, similarly showed this figure with the drooping mustache holding the sack of wool or grain. (Will Shakspere was a graindealer.)

Between the 1700s and mid-1800s the monument was “repaired and beautified.” What we see from this point on is a figure with an upturned mustache and goatee, handling a pen and paper illogically positioned on a pillow. It’s a rather extreme revision, obviously designed to make the figure seem more “literary.”

Shakespeare Biography