Here at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust we love a good excuse to dress up and mess around work. Last week was Museum Week on twitter, and we immediately spotted the perfect opportunity with Sunday’s theme of “pose”.
Over the last six months we have been lucky enough to have Alex working with us in as our Cultural Intern, and she took on the organising of recreating our oil painting Family Saying Grace Before A Meal by Anthonius Claeissins (1538-1613), c.1585, which currently hangs in Halls Croft. The painting can be viewed in the collections portion of our website.
This striking painting is an early example of a Christian family portrait which was a very frequent theme in the painting of the Low Countries in this period. There is a lot to be told and about the family from the imagery in the painting. For example, the Imperial Habsburg emblem embroidered on the table cloth alongside the strong biblical imagery tells us that the family is probably Catholic. The fact that they are all dressed in black says that they were likely a very wealthy family as the cost of the dye needed for black cloth meant it was only available to rich families. You can find out lots more about the imagery in this painting on a previous blog post.
After rounding up a willing group of staff members form across the Trust, we al assembled in the beautiful Nuffeild Room in the Shakespeare Centre. Armed with Ruffs from the Learning Departments fancy dress box, we all got in place.
And snap, we were done! We are all pretty pleased with the outcome. What do you think? And what painting form our collections should we recreate next?