Shakespeare Gallery

The Romantic Illustration Network Shakespeare Gallery

The Romantic Illustration Network would like to express its gratitude to Professor Fred Burwick, who provided us with the negatives for the high-resolution digital images of the engravings displayed below.

The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, 1789-1805

An exhibition of paintings devoted exclusively to scenes from the dramatic works of Shakespeare was opened to the London populace in June, 1789. The Shakespeare Gallery was situated in a huge building at 52 Pall Mall. Formerly occupied by Dodsley’s bookshop, the building had been rebuilt under the supervision of George Dance the younger. The exterior was sheathed in copper; the entrance featured a relief of Shakespeare reclining against a rock, with the Dramatic Muse to his right and the Genius of Painting to his left. The exhibition suite on the ground floor was 130 feet long; the three rooms upstairs provided a wall area of over 4,000 square feet for exhibiting the paintings. Obviously there was room for many more than the thirty-four paintings which were displayed for the first visitors. The number of paintings doubled the ensuing year, and each spring an exhibition of newly completed paintings was announced, so that the Shakespeare Gallery, before it finally closed in 1805, eventually housed 167 canvases by thirty-three artists.

[Excerpt from the Introduction to The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, by Frederick Burwick]

Click on the thumbnails below to access larger versions of the images, and to view the full-sized image. Images are arranged alphabetically by play, and new plays will be added over the coming months, so do keep checking back here.

Mary L. Shannon

Dustin Frazier Wood

Creative Commons Licence
The Romantic Illustration Network Shakespeare Gallery by Frederick Burwick and the Romantic Illustration Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Digitised by the University of Roehampton.


Front Matter to the Boydells’ two-volume Collection of Prints

Antony and Cleopatra


 As You Like It

Comedy of Errors




Julius Caesar


King Henry the Fourth, Part I

King Henry the Fourth, Part II

King Henry the Fifth

King Henry the Sixth, Part I


King Henry the Sixth, Part II


King Henry the Sixth, Part III


King Henry the Eighth


King Lear


King Richard the Third


Measure for Measure

Merchant of Venice

Merry Wives of Windsor

Much Ado About Nothing



Romeo and Juliet



Taming of the Shrew

The Tempest

Timon of Athens



Titus Andronicus



Troilus & Cressida


Two Gentlemen of Verona


Recent Posts

Blake Awakes: Reinvention, Revival and Rylands Collections

Blake Awakes: Reinvention, Revival and Rylands Collections, 1 May, 1-5pm

The Christie Room, The John Rylands Library, Manchester
This workshop will explore some of the ways in which the artistic vision of William Blake has been reimagined and reinvented in British art and culture, with a special focus on material held at the John Rylands Library.
Hosted by the John Rylands Research Institute, the event builds on previous Blake projects at the John Rylands Library, including the exhibition Burning Bright: William Blake and the Art and Craft of the Book, which explored Blake’s own work as a commercial engraver, and his legacy in the world of the book in the century after his death.
This workshop spotlights other themes relating to Blake and his legacy in material held at the John Rylands Library as part of continuing efforts to unlock Blakean materials in the collections. Topics include Blake himself as a re-inventor in his designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts (1795-97); reinventing Blake’s Songs in editions of the poems held in Rylands collections; and Blake and counter-culture, represented in modern literary archives held at the Library.
The event is free to attend, and open to all. Booking is essential as places are limited.
This event is funded by the John Rylands Research Institute.
1-1.15: Introduction (Christie Room)
1.15-2.15: 3 x 15 minute papers + discussion (Christie Room)
  • Lusia Calé (Birkbeck, University of London), ‘Disbound, Encircled, Unrolled: Physical and Metaphorical Materialities of the Book in Blake’s Night Thoughts’
  • Colin Trodd (University of Manchester), ‘Codifying Vision:James Smetham’s Monuments to William Blake’
  • Sarah Haggarty (University of Cambridge), ‘Blake’s namby-pamby? Responses in the Rylands Library to the childlikeness of Songs’
2.15-3.30: Collections Session (Bible Room) / Tea and Coffee Break (Christie Room)
The group will be split in half for refreshments and the collections session; the two groups will swap between the activities at 2.50. A virtual tour of William Blake’s Cottage and other materials will be available to view during the break.
3.30-4.45: 3 x 15 minute papers + discussion (Christie Room)
  • David Hopkins (University of Glasgow), ‘The Impact of Machines’: Blake, British Surrealism and the Machine’
  • Douglas Field (Blake & Counter-Culture), ‘Transatlantic Visions: William Blake, Allen Ginsberg and Michael Horovitz’
  • Jason Whittaker (University of Lincoln), ‘Here be Tygers: from composite art to sequential art’
4.45-5: Closing discussion (Christie Room)


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