A painting of all of the plays of Shakespeare as a map of Europe
Map of the plays of William Shakespeare
Map of the plays of William Shakespeare
A painting of all of the plays in their approximate setting to commemorate 400 years since The Bard’s death.
The original painting is not for sale, but I have prints. Print are size A2 (420 x 594mm) on archival quality paper, signed by the artist, and come to you rolled in a sturdy postal tube. Prices include P&P to UK addresses.
A hand-drawn map of Stratford-upon-Avon. Copies are available at size A2 in two formats: flat, signed and suitable for framing OR folded in a colour cover. Please choose from the drop down box below. Flat maps come to you carefully wrapped and rolled in a sturdy postal tube.
I painted the Shakespeare map to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. It’s a schematic map of Europe with all The Bard’s plays shown on it in their approximate locations.
William Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer to have ever lived and he has always been a towering figure in my life. I too was born and bred in Stratford-upon-Avon and his influence permeated my childhood. For example, at primary school we always got a day off on Shakespeare’s birthday to take part in the town’s celebrations. And so it seemed only right that I, a girl from Stratford, a lover of the English language, and a painter of maps, should attempt to paint all the plays on a single sheet of paper.
A painting of the locations of all Shakespeare’s plays
You’ll see Macbeth in Scotland and Hamlet in Denmark, The Tempest in the Mediterranean and Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt.
The Shakespeare map shows each play’s title, a quotation and a small illustration to give something of each play’s flavour. Plays mostly take place in the British Isles or in Italy. So to squeeze so many in to such a small space on the paper meant I had to distort the underlying map of Europe considerably. But what does that matter? This painting is not about accurate mapping! It’s about spirit!
As well as the plays, I have shown the character of Sir John Falstaff, who appears in three plays and was a very popular character among Elizabethan audiences. The reason he’s in the Netherlands is that there was space to put him there.
No one commissioned me to paint this, it was made entirely for my own pleasure. I have seen maybe 50% of his plays over the years, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and indeed elsewhere. Researching this painting has been a fascinating way of examining each play in turn to discover its essence and themes. My favourite play remains the tragedy of King Lear – and my favourite Lear was Michael Gambon in 1982, with Antony Sher as the Fool. I saw that one 3 times.
Ben Jonson said of Shakespeare: “he is not for an age but for all time” and he’s right. That a boy from an insignificant market town in leafy Warwickshire was able to observe such deep universal human traits, and convey them with such creativity is remarkable.
When you visit the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum its a job to know where to look - at the marvellous exhibits? Or at the magnificent architecture? In this painting you'll spot a dodo, some dinosaur footprints, the swifts that nest in the tower, a dinosaur skeleton and so much more! My favourite bit is the frog in the jar. What's your's? The title comes from Charles Darwin's book 'The Origin of Species' in which he wrote of his theory of evolution by natural selection: "There is grandeur in this view of life..." The print is last one of a limited edition (of 4) hand-made drypoint tinted with watercolour - 450mm x 700mm.
This painting celebrates the incredible work of my hero, the scandalously unsung Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace came up with the theory of natural selection independently of Darwin and established the study of biogeography.
This painting is no longer available, and is shown here for your viewing pleasure and for the glory of Wallace.
Read more about Wallace here.