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The Sanders portrait of William Shakespeare has been handed down through 14 generations of the Sanders family. It was painted by an ancestor, John Sanders, who was a painter and bit actor in Shakespeare’s company of actors called the ‘King’s Men’.

Thirteen scientific tests have been successfully carried out on the portrait including tree- ring dating of the two oak wood panels and the paper label on the back of the painting. The ink on the label was recently tested and found to be consistent with the materials and manufacturing methods available during the time interval determined for the paper label based on radiocarbon dating (circa 1627-1667). The IsoTrace Laboratory at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Conservation Institute carried out the tests.

Pertinent details about Shakespeare’s life are recorded on the label as follows:

Shakspere Born April 23, 1564 Died April 23, 1616

Aged 52

This Likeness taken 1603

Age at that time 39 ys

Recent genealogical research has discovered that the Sanders family is related to Shakespeare’s relatives (Ardens) and to the playwrights friends and intimates (Heminges). The successful scientific tests and familial revelation conclusively support the Sanders family belief that the painter of the portrait knew Shakespeare and thus was able to obtain intimate details of his life and to gain his consent to paint his portrait for posterity.

The Sanders portrait will be unveiled in conjunction with the conference.

All U of O participants with their badges will have free access to the unveiling; however, the general public requires proof of Museum admission to enter viewing space

See Programme for details.