Longleat manuscript


Source: Henricus Peacham (Henry Peacham), illustration of scene from William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, ‘The Longleat manuscript’ (1595), Longleat library

Comments: Henry Peacham (1578-16??) was an English poet and artist. He is believed to be the artist behind this illustration of a scene from Titus Andronicus, which is part of the ‘Longleat manuscript’ (held in the library of the Marquess of Bath at Longleat, signed ‘Henricus Peacham’ and usually dated 1595). The text beneath the illustration is a stage direction, ‘Enter Tamora pleadinge for her sonnes going to execution’ (which does not feature in any printed text version), followed by lines from Acts 1 and 5 of Shakespeare’s play. Some have argued that the illustration shows a German play of the same story and dates from the 1620s. The scene shows Tamora pleading to Titus for the life of her son, Alarbus, with Aaron standing far right.

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