Shakespeare Documented is still growing! Currently, two thirds of the descriptions and 98% of the images are available in the exhibition. Descriptive text will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Visit our About page to learn more about the project scope.
By March 15, 1595, and inferentially by Christmas 1594, William Shakespeare had become a leading member of his company, the Lord Chamberlain’s players, sufficiently senior to serve with William Kempe and Richard Burbage as a financial trustee.
This undated petition to the Privy Council signed by neighbors of a prospective playhouse in Blackfriars is one of three related documents, all in the same hand, among the State Papers in The National Archives:
In 1596 the actor and theater builder James Burbage bought property in Blackfriars, a London neighorhood on the site of a former monastery. His purchase included “seven great upper rooms as they are now divided” as well as some lower rooms and adjoining staircases and yards.
On June 25, 1596, the London printer and publisher John Harrison the Elder transferred his rights to print Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis to his colleague, William Leake, who printed the fifth edition in 1599.
This draft grant of arms for John Shakespeare was prepared and written by William Dethick, Garter King of Arms, the most senior of the 13 heralds of the College of Arms. It is the first of two drafts of the grant, both dated October 20, 1596.
Hamnet, William and Anne Shakespeare’s only son, was buried on August 11, 1596, according to the Holy Trinity Church parish register. Next to the entry, an “X” added by a later hand highlights its significance. He was eleven years old.
The fourth edition of Shakespeare's popular narrative poem Venus and Adonis was published in 1596, three years after the first edition. This fourth edition was the last to be printed by Richard Field and sold by John Harrison.