Shakespeare's Treasures



 The Shakespeare’s Treasures Exhibition is housed within the Shakespeare Centre, where visitors to the Birthplace can discover a range of unique and priceless objects from our exclusive collections.

The exhibit is refreshed every 6 months to provide as much access as possible to our diverse collection of books, documents and other objects associated with Shakespeare’s work, life and times.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s copy of the Cobbe portrait, the only portrait of Shakespeare believed to have been painted from life, will remain on permanent display alongside the changing exhibitions.

December 2014 - June 2015

The latest Treasures Exhibition has been inspired by the sealing of Magna Carta, the 800th anniversary of which is coming up in June 2015.

Meaning “Great Charter”, Magna Carta established individual rights and the idea of the law as a powerful force which applied equally to everyone. This theme has given us the chance to display items relating to the political, legal and financial world in which Shakespeare lived, such as the great seal of Queen Elizabeth I, a deed box and a ceremonial mace from Stratford.

We’ve also focused on Shakespeare’s play King John, with displays featuring photographs and images from different productions. King John was forced to accept the Magna Carta by his rebellious barons, though Shakespeare doesn’t mention this event in his text.

This exhibition highlights the constant development and growth of our collections, with the inclusion of a number of recent acquisitions. Children and families can also enjoy a new Treasures Detective quiz.

Objects on display include:

  • Court record of jurymen appointed to serve in the case of William Shakespeare versus John Addenbrooke, 1609
  • Ceremonial mace with silver gilt decoration, 1475
  • Holinshed’s Chronicle, Volume 3, by Raphael Holinshed. Published 1586
  • An illustration of a court room scene from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, by Joshua Cristall, 1787 – 1847
  • In the Forest of Arden, oil painting by Thomas Stothard, 1825

Find out more about our collections

Entry to the exhibition is included as part of entry to the Birthplace. Visitors can access this exhibition space via the steps in the garden and through the Marble Hall (cafe).

Normal opening times and admission prices apply.