Saturday 18 January 2020

Shakespeare autograph to go on show

A deed containing the signature of William Shakespeare will go on show at the London Metropolitan Archives
A deed containing the signature of William Shakespeare will go on show at the London Metropolitan Archives
A document recording the sale of a house to William Shakespeare in 1613 is one of only six known signatures penned by the bard

A priceless William Shakespeare signature is to go on display at an exhibition.

The 400-year-old scrawled autograph - at the foot of a deed manuscript for a £140 property in Blackfriars - is one of only six known signatures penned by the Bard.

It also bears the signature of William Johnson, who experts believe may be the same William Johnson who was the landlord of the famous Mermaid tavern in Cheapside, where Shakespeare and fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe are said to have drunk.

John Hemmyng (John Heminges), the actor, manager and editor of Shakespeare's first folio, is also named as a trustee on the deed, although his signature is not on the document.

The property, which was destroyed in the 1666 great fire of London, is believed to have been part of a gatehouse, and according to his will, Shakespeare let one of the rooms to a tenant.

Its location would have suited the Bard, as it was next door to the Blackfriars Theatre and just across the river from the Globe.

The document will be the centrepiece of the Shakespeare and London exhibition at the London Metropolitan Archives from May 28 to September 26.

www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/lma(London Metropolitan Archives)

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