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Shakespeare Week Portraits

Jane Porter’s William Shakespeare

Who created it?

Jane Porter


What is it made of?

Oak Gall ink


Artist Biography

Children’s author and illustrator Jane Porter looks for stories everywhere – cycling through the woods, swimming in the river and chatting to children at her weekly under-fives art class. She likes to work with ink, pencils, collage, and sometimes even household paint. Her picture books as author and illustrator include Pink Lion and King Otter, and she is also the author of The Boy Who Loved Everyone (illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring) and So You Want To Be An Owl (illustrated by Maddie Frost – coming soon!).


About the Picture

“When I was asked to draw a portrait of Shakespeare I started by thinking about what I particularly like about his writing – and I kept coming back to nature. So many of his plays and sonnets mention trees, wildflowers and birds, I decided to make that my theme.

“Then I remembered that I had a pot of oak gall ink! I made it myself from crushed up oak galls, boiled up with water and scrap iron (I used a horseshoe). This is the type of ink that was used from the fifth to the nineteenth century, and is almost certainly what Shakespeare himself used to write with. Making it was a magical process – just when you are least expecting it, the mixture turns black! I’ve given Shakespeare a garland of oak leaves, and sat an owl on his shoulder as many of his plays make a mention of these wonderful birds.”


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