Back to exhibition

Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare and Religious War

Katherine de Medici - SR 93.2, 1575.

This book was given by Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna Hall, to ‘Richard Grace’, as is stated in the inscription at the top (not in her hand). It is a translation of a French work written in 1574.

The title says it all. On Saint Bartholomew’s Day 1572, thousands of French Calvinists, or Huguenots, were killed in Paris and other French towns. This book tries to heal the rift between Catholics and Protestants by blaming the Queen mother, Catherine de Medici.

We do not know if the book had belonged to Shakespeare himself, but it’s possible to think that it did if it came from the library of his heir, Susanna. Shakespeare, like all his contemporaries, would have been familiar with accounts of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Christopher Marlowe actually wrote a play about it: The Massacre at Paris.


Click the arrow to the right of the image to continue.