Shakespeare in Art: Tempests, Tyrants and Tragedy, Compton Verney, Warwickshire CV35 9HZ, until 19th June 2016
Many of you will have heard of the national award-winning art gallery Compton Verney which as well as having permanent collections which are well worth visiting (Naples, Northern European Art 1450-1650, British Portraits, Chinese, British Folk Art & The Marx-Lambert Collection) also hosts special exhibitions and one can certainly say that this one – Shakespeare in Art – is indeed special.
Fittingly, as it marks the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death, the exhibition has been designed by the The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Director of Design, Stephen Brimson Lewis. There are more than seventy works on view from the 18th century to contemporary and they are divided thematically into eight acts which include The Tempest, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, King Lear and Henry VIII. It is an engrossing experience that underlines the magic of Shakespeare’s plays.
In addition to this exhibition is a complimentary one which introduces us to John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery which used to be on London’s Pall Mall (the sight is now occupied by the new Philip Mould Gallery). Boydell, a print publisher, opened it in 1789 and commissioned prominent artists of the day, including Romney, Fuseli and Northcote to produce works (history paintings) inspired by Shakespearian scenes.