William Shakespeare has left his legacy, not only on the stage and in print, but also within the art world. Before the advent of photography, depictions of Shakespeare's plays were created in ink and oil. Artistic renditions of Shakespeare's plays can serve as inspiration for costume and stage design as well as thesis ideas for a research paper. This page will help you to find images of Shakespeare's works (and of the man himself) in a variety of mediums.
The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive is a PhD project created by Michael John Goodman. It contains over 3000 illustrations from four of the most significant illustrated editions of Shakespeare's works in the Victorian period. All images have been tagged bibliographically and iconographically and there are numerous pathways through the archive.
The Museum of the City of New York is pleased to announce that over 15,000 images of theatrical production are now freely accessible online through the Museum’s Collections Portal (http://collections.mcny.org).
Thanks to generous support from the Institute of the Museum of Library Services, the Museum is currently engaged in a project to digitize and make available 30,000 photographs documenting over 5,000 Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.
The Folger Digital Image Collection offers access to tens of thousands of high resolution images from the Folger Shakespeare Library, including books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, and art. Users can show multiple images side-by-side, zoom in and out, view cataloging information when available, export thumbnails, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches.
The Furness Image Collection comprises more than 2,000 prints and photographs. The majority date from the nineteenth century, but the Collection also holds earlier and later images. These images illustrate and interpret Shakespeare's works and also document theatrical performers and performances of Shakespeare and other dramatists.
Don't forget that many of the theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Globe Theatre to name but two, also have a photo archives on their websites. If you are looking for images from a particular play or performance, check the website for the theatre company too! Visit the "Shakespeare in Performance" tab for a listing of many national and international Shakespeare companies.
A great example of Digital Humanities at work, the website “What Jane Saw” digitally re-creates a retrospective exhibit of works by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) visited by Jane Austen in 1813. In addition to an interesting visual interface, the site includes a catalog of works in the exhibit, as well as a floor plan, a video recreation using SketchUp, and a bibliography.
As the site’s authors explain, “No visual record of this show is known to have survived, although it attracted hundreds of daily visitors during its much-publicized three-month run. However, many details of the exhibit can be reconstructed from the original 1813 “Catalogue of Pictures,” a one-shilling pamphlet purchased by visitors as a guide through the three large rooms where hung 141 paintings by Reynolds. Armed with surviving copies of this pamphlet, narrative accounts in nineteenth-century newspapers and books, and precise architectural measurements of the British Institution’s exhibit space, this website reconstructs the Reynolds show as Jane Austen (as well as any Jane Doe) saw it.”