Recreating the Boydell Gallery

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 52

In the decades after Shakespeare's death, his works temporarily fell out of favor. His renaissance is usually credited to actor-manager David Garrick, who staged a Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769. Riding Garrick's coattails, an artistic entrepreneur named John Boydell later opened one of England's first art galleries, devoted to paintings of scenes from Shakespeare plays. The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery has now been recreated online at

Our guest is Janine Barchas, an English professor at the University of Texas at Austin and co-curator of the Folger's 2016 exhibition, Will & Jane. Janine led the team that reconstructed Boydell's gallery as a website. We talked with her about the 18th-century Shakespeare craze, how Boydell capitalized on it, and the detective work required to recreate his gallery. Janine Barchas is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

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From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 12, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Painting is Welcome,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Jacob Weiss at Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) at the University of Texas at Austin and Bill Lancz at the studios of Marketplace in Los Angeles.

Read a related Shakespeare & Beyond blog post and see some of the paintings from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection that hung in the gallery.