Shakespeare and His Friends

shakespeare and his friends2.jpg
shakespeare and his friends.jpg
James Faed (1821-1911), after John Faed, Shakspeare and His Friends, 1859. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2013- in process

Vicki Principi recently found this print in the theater collection, which matches the imaginary group of British scientist posted a few days ago and the imaginary group of American authors posted several years ago. The printed title is Shakespeare and His Friends, but it is better known as Shakespeare and His Contemporaries.

The print reproduces John Faed’s 1851 painting of the same title, depicting Shakespeare at the Mermaid Tavern in London for a meeting of the Friday Street Club (named for the tavern’s address). Sir Walter Raleigh founded the group but Shakespeare was not a regular member.

Seen with Shakespeare and Raleigh are Thomas Dorset; Josuah Sylvester; William Camden; John Selden; Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher; Francis Bacon; Ben Jonson; Samuel Daniel; John Donne; Henry Wriothesley Southampton; Robert Cotton; Thomas Dekker; and Thomas Sackville Dorset.

“Lines on the Mermaid Tavern”
by John Keats

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host’s Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

See an extended essay on the Mermaid:
Michelle O’Callaghan, ‘Patrons of the Mermaid tavern (act. 1611)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. [, accessed 7 April 2013]