All the World's a Stage: Court, Patrons & Writers in Shakespeare's Circle

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, 10 June – 25 September 2016 

Marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, this exhibition, the Barber’s first ever exploring Elizabethan and Jacobean art, focused on the Bard’s chief patrons at court, and on other leading writers – rivals and associates.

atwas-1Organised in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London, it featured major paintings, sculpture, miniatures and prints from the period 1590-1620, including outstanding portraits of Anne of Denmark, the Earls of Essex and Derby, Ben Jonson, John Fletcher and others, as well as iconic images of Shakespeare himself. A rare first Folio and other richly ornamented books of the time was lent by the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library.


The show explored how artists construct character through portraiture, while delving into the lively world of the court during a golden age of British cultural history.

This exhibition was curated by: Charlotte Bagwell, Samantha Barillaro, Anna Franck, Jennifer Gleadell, Anna Jankowiak, Cassandra Killow, Sophia Szynaka, Sarah Theobald, and Chloe Walker.

Visit the All The World's A Stage web page


Visitor comments included:

“Very illuminating.”

“Another gem.”

“Delightful tribute to William Shakespeare.”

“Fascinating portraits.”

“Inspiring, to say the least.”-

“I am truly moved. Thank you for helping to bring out the humanity in a legend.”

Images supplied courtesy of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.