The portrait is believed to have been painted in 1610
A portrait of William Shakespeare thought to be the only picture made of the playwright during his lifetime has been unveiled in London.
It is believed the artwork dates back to 1610, six years before Shakespeare’s death at the age of 52.
The newly-authenticated picture was inherited by art restorer Alec Cobbe.
The portrait will go on show at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon from 23 April, the author’s birthday.
The painting has been in the Cobbe family for centuries, through its maritial link to Shakespeare’s only literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton.
‘Very fine painting’
Mr Cobbe realised the significance of the painting after visiting an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery where he saw a portrait that had until 70 years ago been accepted as a life portrait of Shakespeare.
He immediately realised that it was a copy of the painting in his family collection.