Skip to main content
Shakespeare in Silver

Shakespeare in Silver


Shakespeare in Silver

 This website lays open to the world, visual details of The Vase of Shakspeare, along with its corresponding verbal descriptions on the Larger Plaque attached to the Wooden Pedestal.

What’s “The Vase of Shakspeare”?

 The Vase of Shakspeare, now housed in the Library Collection of Meisei University, Tokyo, is a high-Victorian decorative silver work, measuring 1.3 metres high and weighing 43.0 kilograms including the Wooden Pedestal, depicting characters and scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, at least one from each of his thirty-seven plays, plus two allegorical winged figures of TRAGEDY and of COMEDY on either side, all crowned with the figure of THE POET at the top. It was executed by Charles F. Hancock (1807-91), the noted Victorian jeweler and silversmith to the principal European sovereigns and courts, based on the design of the Italian sculptor Raffaele Monti (1818-81). It was first exhibited at the 1862 London Exhibition, as the centre piece of the silver quintette, named “The Poetry of Great Britain, a Group in Silver”.

Descriptions on the Larger Plaque

 The verbal descriptions on the Larger Plaque are available in two versions: the photographic reproduction of the Plaque, and its transcript. The whole process of transcription was much assisted by the transcript given in the _Illustrated Catalogue […of London International Exhibition 1862]_, but throughout its process the principle of “fidelity to the Plaque wording” was maintained, to the letter and even to the punctuation mark. No corrections or additions, when thought appropriate, were made. Photographic reproductions of the Plaque along with the transcript of the Larger Plaque are made downloadable in a zipped folder, so that anyone wishing to confirm the authorial intention may do so on their own.

Plaque Transcripts

 Please note that the texts in the “Plaque Transcripts” box are not identical with those given on the Plaque: a design description comes with the upper-area descriptions (i.e., such as those under the A-H headings) under which it falls, even if the design description may not succeed the upper-area descriptions on the Plaque; the italic letters on the Plaque are, due to technical limitations, given as romans on the website; and indentions are normally less spacious than on the Plaque. Those who wish to obtain accurate transcripts are advised to refer to the downloadable PDF file or photographic reproductions on the TOP page.

Folger Texts and Japanese Translation

 Excerpts from “Folger Digital Texts” – the most reliable web texts available today – will allow you to enjoy the lines or scenes on the Plaque in much broader contexts. Corresponding Japanese versions are being selected by the site author from past translated editions (to be released shortly), while the Japanese titles in the title-search box are basically those translated by MATSUOKA Kazuko (Chikuma-shobo, 1996- ).


 本サイトは、The Vase of Shakspeareの図柄を、照応する台座銘板の解説文と結びつけて、世界に示そうとするものです。

The Vase of Shakspeareとは?

 The Vase of Shakspeareとは、現在、明星大学図書館が所蔵している非公開の純銀製の細密な美術工芸品で、シェイクスピア劇の名場面や登場人物の劇的瞬間をかたどった壺型の装飾置物(木製台座を含む高さ1.3 m、重さ43.0 kg)です。さらに本体の最上部にはシェイクスピアの像、左右には有翼の《悲劇》像と《喜劇》像が施されています。図柄の原作はイタリアの彫刻家ラッファエレ・モンティ(1818-81)、彫銀が当時ヨーロッパ中の王侯貴族の依頼品を数多く手掛けていたイギリスの銀細工師チャールズ・ハンコック(1807-91)です。正確な制作年は不詳ですが、1862年のロンドンの万国博覧会に、《英国の詩 ― 純銀群像》という名の全五体から成る群像の中央の像として出品されたことが分かっています。






 銘板解説文にあるセリフや場面を、より大きな文脈のなかで鑑賞できるようにするため、ウェブ上で入手できる最も信頼のおけるテキストとして “Folger Digital Texts” から前後を引用しました。またそれに照応する箇所の日本語訳を既刊の版本のなかから、本サイト監修者が個別に適宜選択して示しました(現在、準備中)。また、作品名検索ボックスの日本語訳は、原則として松岡和子訳(ちくま文庫、1996- )によって示しました。

The Vase of Shakspeare at a GlanceThe Vase of Shakspeareとは?



Close-up on the Plaque銘板画像

To download plaque descriptions
– photographic reproductions & transcripts on a PDF –
all in one zipped folder, click BELOW↓

Video Introductions紹介動画

The Vase of Shakspeare at a Second Glance – J-E Bilingual The Vase of Shakspeare早わかり(日本語・英語字幕)

The Vase of Shakspeare at a Fuller Glance – E-J Bilingual The Vase of Shakspeareの見どころ(英語・日本語字幕)