Shakespeare’s paper trail

This year, it’s 400 years since Shakespeare died and from February 3 until May 29, his last known work – his signature on his will – is on display at By Me, William Shakespeare, A Life in Writing. It’s a once-in-a-generation chance. After the exhibition, the will goes back into storage.

The will is famous, of course, for that bequest of his second-best bed to his wife.


The exhibition includes four of Shakespeare’s six existing signatures, including the first on record, brought together for the first time, in a creatively curated exhibition which brings to life Shakespeare’s time in London.


The will itself is faded and creased, and it’s easy to see ‘By Mr William’… but the surname is rather hard to read. Although authorship of his plays may be argued over, Shakespeare’s will is definitely all his own work!

Shakespeare400 is a consortium of cultural, creative and educational organisations, which will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016









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