William Shakespeare 1564-1616

William Shakespeare 1564-1616
 William Shakespeare was born on or near April 23 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The third child of John Shakespeare, a leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a local landed heiress, he had two older sisters and three younger brothers. Scant records exist of William's childhood, and virtually none regarding his education.

William Shakespeare 1564-1616 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, from Shottery near Stratford, in 1582. He was 18 and she was 26 and pregnant. Their daughter, Susanna, was born in 1583 and two years later, twins Hamnet and Judith were born.

After the birth of the twins, there are seven years of Shakespeare's life where no records exist. Scholars call this period the "lost years," and there is wide speculation on what he was doing during this period. By 1592, there is evidence he earned a living as an actor and a playwright in London and possibly had several plays produced. He became a managing partner in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting company in London. The company proved popular, and records show that Shakespeare had works published and sold as popular literature. Early in his career, Shakespeare was able to attract the attention of Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his first- and second-published poems: "Venus and Adonis" (1593) and "The Rape of Lucrece" (1594).
By 1597, 15 of the 37 plays written by Shakespeare were published and by 1599 Shakespeare and his business partners built their own theatre on the south bank of the Thames River, which they called the Globe.William Shakespeare 1564-1616

William Shakespeare's early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn't always align naturally with the story's plot or characters. He was however, very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and creating a freer flow of words. With the exception of Romeo and Juliet, his first plays were mostly histories written in the early 1590s. Richard II, Henry V and Henry VI dramatize the destructive results of weak or corrupt rulers. Shakespeare also wrote several comedies during his early period: the witty romance A Midsummer Night's Dream, the romantic Merchant of Venice, the wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing, the charming As You Like It and Twelfth Night. Other plays, possibly written before 1600, include Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It was in Shakespeare's later period, after 1600, that he wrote the tragedies Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth. In these, his characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are timeless and universal. Possibly the best known of these plays is Hamlet, which explores betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. Shakespeare's final period saw him write several tragi-comedies. Among these are Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Though graver in tone than the comedies, they are not the dark tragedies of King Lear or Macbeth because they end with reconciliation and forgiveness. It is believed that Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. Church records show he was interred at Trinity Church on April 25, 1616.

William Shakespeare 1564-1616 For centuries after his death, questions have arisen, because of the sketchy details of Shakespeare's life, about the authorship of his plays. Scholars and literary critics began to float names like Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere and Francis Bacon - men of more known backgrounds, literary accreditation, or inspiration—as the true authors of the plays. Sceptics also questioned how anyone of such modest education could write with the intellectual perceptiveness and poetic power that is displayed in Shakespeare's works. However, the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars contend that Shakespeare was a respected man of the dramatic arts who wrote his own plays and acted in some in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His reputation as a dramatic genius however wasn't recognized until the 19th century beginning with the Romantic period of the early 1800s and continuing through the Victorian period.

Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and re-interpreted in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts. The genius of Shakespeare's characters and plots are that they present real human beings in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins in Elizabethan England.

William Shakespeare 1564-1616 FDC

Shakespeare Portrait
Within four decades of its foundation in 1856, upwards of 60 portraits were offered for sale to the National Portrait Gallery in London purporting to be of Shakespeare but there are only two definitively accepted as portraying him, both of which are posthumous. One is the engraving that appears on the cover of the First Folio (1623) and the other is the sculpture that adorns his memorial in Stratford upon Avon. The Chandos Portrait (used in this stamp issue) is attributed to John Taylor and dated to about 1610. The name arose as it was once in the possession of the Duke of Chandos. The Cobbe portrait discovered in 2006 is still being debated as to whether or not it is William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars
Strip of 4 stamps with central tab
First Day Cover with stamp strip

Technical Details

Lucas Kukler, Bangkok, Thailand

Pitcairn Stamps
proudly brought
to you by:
Bounty Post
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand
Process: Offset Litho
Stamp size: 37.5 mm x 36.95 mm vertical
Format: Four semi setenant stamps with separate central tab.
Perforation Gauge: 14.40 x 14.615
Denominations: $1.00, $1.80, $2.00 and $2.20.
Paper: 103gsm Tullis Russell Yellow/Green phosphor stamp paper
Period of Sale:
9 March 2016 for a period of 2 years.
Acknowledgement: The Bureau thanks the National Portrait Gallery, London for allowing use of the Chandos image. NPG 1 William Shakespeare associated with John Taylor oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1610 © National Portrait Gallery, London.