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Friday, May 19, 2006

Bard Beyond Belief?

A Canadian man thinks genealogy will help prove that a portrait he owns is an authentic sketch of William Shakespeare.

The Sanders Portrait, believed to have been sketched in 1603 by a friend of a then 39-year-old Shakespeare, is the property of Ottawa resident Lloyd Sullivan, 73, who says his heritage can be traced back to the portrait-painter John Sanders.

The retired engineer has put his portrait through tree-ring dating of the wood it was sketched on, radiographic testing of the canvas and radiocarbon testing of the paper label on the back of the painting. He also tracked his genealogy back to 1607, which he says makes it almost certain that his painting is authentic.

All that's left is to trace his heritage into the 1500s and to date the ink of the painting. But Sullivan was told to wait for the technology to improve so a smaller sample of the painting could be used.

"If the ink dates back to that time, it proves that my ancestor knew when Shakespeare was born, knew when he died," Sullivan said. [Link]
It's too bad his ancestor didn't use some of that ink to write down when Shakespeare was born, because no one else seems to know.

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