A famous portrait of Shakespeare owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company is a fake—a 19th-century imitation that replaced the older original sometime in the past decade, a German scholar claimed yesterday. “Where is the priceless 400-year-old original 'Flower' portrait?” she asks, saying that the painting appears different this year than when she last examined it in 1996.
No one disputes that the portrait isn't 400 years old. The National Portrait Gallery analyzed it in 2005 and found that it contained a yellow paint available only after 1814. The bone of contention is whether the RSC's painting used to NOT be a fake. "The idea that this picture has been substituted between 1996 and 2005 is nonsensical," says a curator.