The Road to Polisy, Part III

Whether Oxford was likely to have seen Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors and its anamorphic memento mori that scholars so often compare to Yorick’s skull in Hamlet is a two-fold question, a matter of proximity in physical space and within a social network.

During Oxford’s 1575-76 grand tour, that painting was displayed at the Dinteville’s estate in Polisy, France. Beginning with a family they knew whose art and culture Shakespeare often drew on in moments of pivotal transformation, Parts I and II explored dozens of allusions to the Gonzagas of Mantua and their network of relations which stretched over the Alps to France yet rarely extended further than second cousins from Guglielmo Gonzaga, 3rd Duke of Mantua. While continuing to look at Gonzaga/Dinteville contacts, Part III will explore the Polisy family’s ties with the de Tournons of Roussillon and Tournon sur Rhone. If the road to Polisy began in Mantua, it also ran through Roussillon. Continue reading


The Road to Polisy: An Overview

When viewed from an extreme Hamlet-like angle the mutant mass of bone in Han’s Holbein’s The Ambassadors is transformed into a skull that looks suspiciously like old Yorick. Scholars frequently compare these two scene stealing skulls but none have dared to send William Shakspere overseas to a French noble estate. Yet if the Earl of Oxford or one of the alternative candidates was accepted as the author we would have no trouble identifying Holbein’s anamorphic masterwork as an inspirational source for Hamlet.


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Patrick Prentice Reviews Joshua Gray’s #Bard154

Today we offer a guest post from Patrick Prentice, a writer and producer on Last Will. & Testament, a great documentary film that discusses the Shakespeare authorship Question.

Patrick reviews Joshua Gray’s #Bard154 — Shakespeare’s sonnets and a “Tudor Rose” approach distilled into poetic quatrains and published on Twitter. You can also enjoy the poet’s work at the website:


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Betrayed by Envy’s Whim: Oxford, Southampton and Davison’s Anagrammata

Identifying the “impious crew” of Catilines in Francis Davison’s epigrams

Francis Davison’s 1603 publication of Anagrammata in Nomina Illustrissimorum Heroum contained thirteen epigrams in praise of eminent men, “fairly predictable exercises in courtly flattery” as described by Dana Sutton of the Philological Museum. Yet the epigrams for the Earls of Oxford and Southampton “may merit more consideration” in Sutton’s opinion. Continue reading

Peyton Investigation and Main and Bye Plots

Recognizing the kinship based chain of connection that ran through the Essex Rebellion, Peyton Investigation, Main and Bye Plots and beyond can help us to develop a more comprehensive picture of the situation that Shakespeare and the Fair Youth faced at the end of Elizabeth’s reign and early in the rule of James I. The use of multiperspectivism – incorporating diverse viewpoints that may reflect on, counter or correct the standard account – can also help us to recover further details.  Continue reading

The VVV in Oxford’s Crown Signature

In The Marian Crown in Oxford’s Signature I explored the possibility that the crown or coronet was a stylized form of Marian Mark. The paraph over Edward de Vere’s signature could look like an M or a W with an attached serif.



Yet in the neatest and, I believe, earliest version we have it is clearly a VVV.

crownsignature2I was working on the cabala of Sir Thomas Tresham and how his Triangular Lodge intersects with the play Love’s Labour’s Lost when I stumbled over another VVV and understanding finally clicked. Continue reading

Horace Vere’s Grandson was Named Horatio

Oxfordian authorship theorists connect Hamlet’s friends Horatio and Francisco to Edward de Vere’s cousins, the famous “Fighting Vere” military commanders, Horace and Francis.

“Horatio, I am dead. Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied…O God, Horatio, what a wounded name. Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me. If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity a while, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story.”

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The Marian Crown in Oxford’s Signature


This post explores the idea that the glyph surmounting Oxford’s “Crown Signature” was a stylized Marian Mark, now commonly known as a Witch Mark, and that these apotropaic symbols which Elizabethans often carved near windows, doorways and fireplaces for purposes of ritual protection were carried over into the literature of the day in religiously conformist, Roman Catholic and satirical subtexts. I will examine crowned Marian representations and the possibility that Oxford’s sigil was a Marian Mark transmuted into a crown. Though as Anti-Stratfordian scholar Diana Price asserted Oxford’s symbol most evidently resembled an Earl’s coronet, in a covert context it would indeed signify a royal crown and in a sense, by her co-option of the Virgin Virginum symbol of the Marian Queen of Heaven, the protection of Queen Elizabeth. I will argue that Oxford’s use of this mark was particularly Shakespearean, putting the inherent anamorphism of this sigil and its multilayered associations to work for his own unfolding purposes. Though I am not Catholic, I will attempt to demonstrate how neglect of the Catholic side of Oxford’s mixed religious background can lead to missed clues in the authorship question.

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Happy 465th Birthday, Edward de Vere, a.k.a. Shake-speare?

I second that, except for the part about elitist snobs and the question mark 😉


To all the Oxfordians out there, those “elitist snobs,” (oh, that’s one of the milder monikers for those who dare to believe that Edward de Vere was the real Shake-speare) raise your glass in honor of the poet earl!

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, K Chiljan

Here’s one of my favorite Shakespearean excerpts, from Sonnet 81:

Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read;
And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead;
You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

Happy Birthday, Edward de Vere!

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To Claim a Kingdom

Oxfraud may have a point when he observes that Elizabethans did not number their Earls, putting a kibosh on the significance of the number 17. Of course he spends quite some time kicking a dead man and would never inform a reader that Master of Revels George Buc called Oxford “a magnificent and very learned and religious man” or that George Chapman remembered that the Earl “was beside of spirit passing great/ Valiant, and learned, and liberal as the sun/ Spoke and writ sweetly of learned subjects/ Or of the discipline of public weals.” Unlike Alan Nelson, Oxfraud did not even compliment Oxford’s lovely and legible handwriting, although he does give the Earl props for claiming descent from Lady Godiva.


If the seven slashes on the flourish that underscored his signature did not signify that he was the 17th Earl of his line it opens the way to the interpretation that it simply linked the number seven with Edward which is in itself quite meaningful. To understand why we have to look at religion for a little bit but as Buc noted de Vere was a highly religious guy. When he wasn’t being blasphemous that is. Continue reading

Connections in the Shakespeare Nexus

This is a long list of short bios for a handful of family lines that share connections to Edward de Vere and William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon.  It essentially serves as an overview of material which will be explored with documentation in future posts. Hopefully once it is complete with supporting documentation and links it will be a useful research tool for those studying the authorship question. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Shakespeare

Since it lay there for so long with nothing in it, WordPress has inspired me to launch this long delayed blog with an encouraging auto message and the following quote from Shakespeare:

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.