It was a special moment when the Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon this week.

The portrait is known throughout the world and will appear as part of our new family-friendly exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, for a limited time. 

The Chandos Portrait is the only one of Shakespeare that is believed to have been painted during his lifetime. It lives at the National Portrait Gallery who are lending it to us to celebrate the opening of our first ever permanent exhibition. It was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery when the gallery was founded in 1856, and it has only left the building on a few occasions since that time.

The portrait will sit alongside our rare First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays which dates from 1623. The Play’s The Thing opens to the public for the first time on Saturday and is open daily from 10am.

More on The Play's The Thing

Two men in purple protective gloves hang the portrait of Shakespeare
Hanging the Chandos Portrait in our exhibition The Play's The Thing.
Photo by Andrew Fox © RSC – Image Licensing

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