The so-called “Ashbourne Shakespeare” portrait surfaced in the 19th century at the Ashbourne Free school in Derbyshire. Charles Wisner Barrell, in a controversial 1940 Scientific American article, revealed the painting to be the lost Cornelius Ketel portrait of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford. A 1993 article by William Pressley, published in the Shakespeare Quarterly, claims — using sometimes preposterous logic — that the portrait is actually of Hugh Hamersley, a former mayor of London.
Research by Shakespeare Fellowship founding member Barbara Burris, published in a series of articles in the Fellowship’s quarterly journal, Shakespeare Matters, demonstrates the spurious character of the Pressley/Folger claim and shows why Barrell’s original deciphering of the painting as the lost Ketel of Oxford is the still most plausible account of this enigmatic painting.
Read Barbara Burris’ Second Ashbourne article. (pdf format)