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Shakespeare's family in nine objects

Portrait of Elizabeth Barnard

Family focus

Elizabeth Hall (Nash/Barnard) – Shakespeare’s grand-daughter

About the Item

This portrait painting is of an unknown lady, about 1690-1700 in oils on canvas. The clothes and hairstyle of the woman in the painting date the picture to about 1690-1700. At one time it was thought that the painting might be of Lady Elizabeth Barnard (1608-1670) but this is unlikely owing to the probable date of the painting. Shakespeare's grand-daughter, Elizabeth, was a wealthy woman following her second marriage to John Barnard (later knighted by the King) and this portrait shows how she might have appeared. The portrait was originally displayed in Shakespeare's Birthplace from 1793 until 1820 when the owner at the time moved out.

About Elizabeth Hall (Nash/Barnard)

Elizabeth Hall was Shakespeare’s grand-daughter and the only child of Susanna and her husband John Hall. She would have been born into a prosperous family. Her mother would inherit the bulk of Shakespeare’s property and wealth and her father would have a successful career as the town’s only physician.

It is not known if Elizabeth attended school but legal documents show she could sign her name. Like other girls of that period, a good proportion of her time would have been spent learning the domestic skills needed to help around the house and set her up for later life as a wife and possible mother.

Elizabeth married Thomas Nash, a lawyer, when she was 18 and he was 32. They almost certainly lived with her parents at New Place, despite Nash owning a house next door.

Her life would have been more leisurely than her mother’s or grandmother’s as she could afford to employ servants to help with the household tasks.

Elizabeth was widowed in 1647 and remarried two years later to John Barnard. When her husband was later knighted, she became Lady Elizabeth Barnard.

She died in 1670 and, having no children, was the last of Shakespeare’s direct descendants.

Read about Elizabeth Hall (Nash/Barnard)

Find out more about Elizabeth Hall (Nash/Barnard) in this fact file about members of Shakespeare's family.

Find out more information about Elizabeth Hall here. 

Listen to this!

Listen to an imagined account from the life of Elizabeth Barnard (Hall).

Find out more!

Explore Shakespeare’s family tree with this resource

Try this!

Imagine what you think Shakespeare’s grand-daughter looked like (or any other member of Shakespeare’s family). Paint or draw a portrait of them and then create your own Tudor style picture frame using this resource.


CC-BY-NC-ND Image Courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust