[SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM (1564-1616)]
HANDSOME GOTHIC OAK DESK MADE FROM TIMBER REMOVED FROM STRATFORD-ON-AVON CHURCH, the inside of the sloping lid inscribed in Gothic script 'SHAKESPEAREAN OAK FROM STRATFORD CHURCH', well carved details, with side cupboards and concealed projecting inkwell, detachable gallery carved with quatrefoils and finials; the whole breaks down into three main sections with detachable legs, 53 inches high (135 cm), 34 inches (87 cm) [c. 1840]
In 1840 great changes were made at Stratford-on-Avon Church at a cost of £4,000 which included the removal of fifteenth-century high pews which would have been in the church during Shakespeare's lifetime. Stylistically the desk dates from the 1840s. The tradition for making Shakespearian relics from the mulberry tree in the garden of New Place and was chopped down in 1758 continued into the 1860s (Halliwell-Phillipps). Wood from the parish church where Shakespeare was buried was clearly par for the course as well.
Included with the desk is a HAND-TINTED LITHOGRAPH OF THE CHANCEL OF STRATFORD CHURCH showing Shakespeare's monument and tombstone to the upper left, 'drawn from Nature & on Stone by J[ohn] Barnard' (1812-1863), and published by C. Elston of Leamington, with M. & N. Hanhart named as the lithographic printers, framed and glazed, size of image 11 x 8 inches (29 x 20 cm), overall size, 20 x 16 inches (50 x 40 cm), (exhibited in Faces and Places in Literature, Cheltenham Literary Festival, 1982), not dated [but mid nineteenth century - 1840 and noted as such when sold by Christopher Wood at Malletts]
PROVENANCE: Malletts; Colin Franklin; Halliday's.
REFERENCES: J. Hartley Bloom, Shakespeare's Church, 1902; Harold Baker, The Collegiate Church of Stratford-on-Avon, 1902; J.O. Halliwell[-Phillipps], An Historical Account of New Place, 1864.