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Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare and Religious War

Mother and Child by Jan Daemen Cool, 1627.

What did the Dutch ever do for us?

Our pore artificers doe starve & dye
    For yt they cannot now be sett on worke
And for your worke more curious to the ey[.]
    In Chambers, twenty in one house will lurke,
Raysing of rents, was never knowne before
    Living farre better then at native home
And our pore soules, are cleane thrust out of dore.

(From the Dutch Church Libel; A. Freeman’s transcript)

In the early 1600s Shakespeare himself was a lodger with an immigrant family, the Mountjoys, who specialised in (often expensive and exclusive) head attire.

Several references in Twelfth Night would have reminded the audience of the Dutch contribution to European culture: from ‘Mistress Mall’s picture’ – the main portrait artists in England were Flemish – to Willem Barents’s explorations and ‘the new map with the augmentation of the Indies’, which was likely to be based on the projection principles of Gerardus Mercator or Abraham Ortelius.


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Map of Illyria From Abraham Ortelius his epitome of the Theater of the worlde, 1603. Ref no: 83081313


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Map of the Americas; Jodocus Hondius / Gerardus Mercator, 1619. Ref no: 83427371


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Sheath for wedding knives, 1602. SBT 1868-3/903.


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Drug jar, c. 1600. SBT 2004-25/14


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Clothes’ press, c. 1650.



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