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Picture Gallery

The pictures in this gallery are all from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and they date from around the time that Shakespeare was writing his plays.

There are portraits here of some of the key members of Shakespearean high society, many painted by Nicholas Hilliard, the famous society artist. Not only will these portraits help you to see what the richer audience members would have looked like, but they will also help you to visualise what actors playing nobility and the upper classes would have worn onstage, as costumes were always rich and high fashion, never ‘period’.

The artworks and documents you will find here will help you to understand what Shakespeare’s audience thought about the world around them, which will help to explain the significance of some of Shakespeare’s language and imagery.

All Shakespeare's world gallery images are © The Fitzwilliam Museum.