Virtual Exhibit

The Sanders Portrait

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The Sanders Portrait: This Is the Face of the Bard

This gallery investigates and examines the history of the Canadian-owned Sanders Portrait: a painting of an enigmatic, intense man said to be William Shakespeare. The painting dated 1603, is distinct from the other Shakespeare contenders because its label, duly dated to the period, establishes the sitter as “Shakspere” and its 400-year old ownership is ascribed to one family, the Sanders, descendants of the artist who initially painted the portrait. This family provenance is established through extensive genealogical records, family documents, and oral traditions within the family. The Sanders Portrait is of significant educational and historical value to Canada and Canadians. It not only tells the familiar story of immigration to the country (the portrait came to Canada in 1919) but it has also come to represent the pervasive presence of Shakespeare in Canada.

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