Henry Wallis

The Room in Which Shakespeare Was Born


Henry Wallis 1830–1916
Oil paint on board
Support: 292 × 419 mm
frame: 511 × 638 × 65 mm
Purchased 1955

Display caption

Wallis launched his career exhibiting a sequence of paintings of interior scenes connected with the life of playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616). This one shows Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is based on a biography by Charles Knight written in 1842. It describes ‘the mean room, with its massive joists and plastered walls, firm with ribs of oak’. Wallis has painted the room in detail, including every nail securing the floorboards. He has also taken note of Knight’s passage describing how ‘hundreds amongst the hundreds of thousands by whom that name is honoured have inscribed their names on the walls of the room.’

Gallery label, June 2019

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  • Tate Etc

    MicroTate 14

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    Heimo Zobernig, Tim Lee, David Shrigley and Kay Rosen on Tate Collection works Tate Etc. issue 14

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