THE SANDERS PORTRAIT
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:
Born April 23, 1564
Died April 23, 1616
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
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.