Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive

The newest of the copyright-free image archives in this story, the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive, was launched in November last year by English Literature PhD graduate Michael Goodman.

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The online archive site gives anyone access to 3,000 digitalised line drawings from four major illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s Complete Works in the Victoria era.

Artists can use the illustrations in their own work and share on social media freely thanks to a Creative Commons license – and all the illustrations are free.

Use an extensive search cloud to search the drawings by motif, category or by type - such as tragedy, comedy or history.

Michael used Photoshop to isolate the illustrations, scanning the hard copies single-handedly and tagging each image. 

As you can imagine this process was long and laborious, but Michael says the archive lets us appreciate how the plays are “like a hall of mirrors – they reflect certain ideas back to each other”. 

Check out our full story on the archive here.

Image: The Tempest, John Gilbert edition of Shakespeare’s Complete Works.

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