SHAKESPEARE has been given a 400th anniversary makeover.
Artist Geoff Tristram thought a new portrait of the bard was long overdue so he set about painting one with the support of both the town and district councils.
Geoff told The Observer: “There has not been a new portrait in hundreds of years, and with the 400th anniversary it seemed a fitting time for a new one.”
The 61 year-old busied himself studying every picture he could find of the playwright, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) allowed him to take ‘reference’ photos with a model in the birth room itself. SBT also supplied a number of props including the signet ring visible in the finished work.
Geoff was determined to make the painting as realistic as possible.
“I got my friend Simon Millichip to model. I just asked him if he fancied being Shakespeare and he said yes.
“I wanted the image to breathe. I wanted to capture some proper life. The result is Shakespeare’s features over Simon’s skin.”
The Stourbridge-based artist, who spent two months on the oil painting, admitted he was happy with the end result – or at least as happy as any artist ever was.
“I am pleased it, and I will be interested to hear what people think of it,” added Geoff, whose 40 year CV as a professional artist includes UB40’s first two album covers, stamps for Charles and Di’s wedding, and quarter of a century as official artist to the World Snooker Championships.
The large artwork – which measures some 4.5ft by 2.5ft – will be going on display in Stratford at a venue yet to be confirmed.
And a limited edition print – naturally of 400 – will also be available.
Visit www.geofftristram.co.uk for further details.