So, Who’s This Guy?

Back in Washington D.C. after a six year absence (and looking forward to a swing by Folger Library!) we stopped off at the Spy Museum today.  When my kids started pointing and yelling “Shakespeare!” I was pleasantly surprised to see Kit Marlowe, and actual spy:

And I suppose it makes sense to include Sir Francis Bacon as well:

But who the heck is this guy?







The blurb underneath said “Was William Shakespeare A Spy?” but then just went on to talk about authorship theory and how Marlowe or Bacon might have written the works.  But then it went on to talk about the work of the William and Elizebeth Friedman who basically proved that looking for secret ciphers in Shakespeare’s work is a joke.

I just can’t figure out who that is in the picture, because it’s sure not Shakespeare!  I thought it was funny that so much of the exhibit was about taking on a secret identity and using disguises.  Looks to me like a dude pretending to be Shakespeare on school picture day.

Anybody able to identify that portrait?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.


3 thoughts on “So, Who’s This Guy?

    1. Follow up: The original is in the collection of the Manchester Art Gallery.
      Here is a link with more information on the painting and the artist:

      It is interesting that the Spy Museum chose this portrait rather than the “usual suspects:” Chandos, Cobbe, Droeshout, and Sanders. I wonder if they chose it because it seems to go well with the Bacon and Marlowe portraits.
      Personally, I really like the waxed mustache. It makes him look Hercule Poirot at a Shakespeare look-alike party. Looking good — but Poirot is no Portaccio.

      1. Very cool! Nice detective work. Sorry for the late response, I normally get email notification when somebody comments on posts but for some reason I haven’t been lately.

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