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Today, 23 April, is #Shakespeare Day, the date on which Shakespeare died in 1616, and is generally thought to have been born in 1564. Sir John Soane, an avid Shakespeare enthusiast, would surely have noted the date. A number of artworks with Shakespearean subjects grace the walls of the Museum, and a ‘shrine’ to the bard can be found in the recently restored Shakespeare recess on the staircase of No. 13.

Clara Maria Pope (1767-1838), Shakespeare's Flowers, 1835. P319

This work, painted by the artist Clara Maria Pope is one that most commonly catches the eye of visitors during tours of our Private Apartments. An 1837 inventory of the Soane describes it as 'The Bust of Shakespeare encircled by all the Flowers mentioned in his Works'. The bust seems to be that of Shakespeare by Scheemakers, of which Soane owned a cast (the original is on the poet's monument in Westminster Abbey). Read the full description of this work on our Collections Online database >

If you’d like to try and have a go at listing them yourself, we’ve listed the answers – and the sources – below. These answers are taken directly from a note supplied by the artist herself, which was provided with the painting when it was acquired by Soane.


Aconite - Henry IV part 2

Bramble - As You Like It, [The] Tempest

Broom - [The] Tempest

Brier or Eglantine - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cymbeline, As You Like It

Butterflies - Coriolanus

Balm - Anthony and Cleopatra

Burnet - Henry V

Coloquintida - Othello

Crown Imperial - [A] Winter’s Tale

Cowslips - [The] Tempest, Cymbeline

Columbine - Hamlet, Loves Labours Lost

Common Rose - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Cuckoo Flowers & buds or Ladies’ Smocks - [King] Lear, Loves Labours Lost

Camomile - Henry IV part 1

Carnation - [A] Winter’s Tale

Clover - Henry V

Daisies Red - Loves Labours Lost, Hamlet

Dew Drops - Loves Labours Lost

Damask Rose - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sonnets

Daffodils - [A] Winter’s Tale

Flax - [King] Lear, Henry V

Fennel - Hamlet, Henry IV part 2

Fumitory - [King] Lear, Henry V

Furze - [The] Tempest

Gilly Flowers -[A] Winter’s Tale

Long Heath - [The] Tempest

Honeysuckles or Woodbine - Much Ado About Nothing

Hawthorn - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, [King] Lear

Heartsease - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, [King] Lear

Hare Bell - Cymbeline

Hemlock - [King] Lear

Henbane - Hamlet

Hyssop - Othello

Ivy - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Iris - Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well

Knotgrass or Darnel - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Love in Idleness - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Lilly - Cymbeline, Loves Labours Lost

Lady Bird - Romeo and Juliet

Long Purples - Hamlet

Laurel - Titus Andronicus, Henry VI part 3

Lavender - Hamlet

Mallow - Measure for Measure, Anthony and Cleopatra

Mint - Loves Labours Lost

Marjoram - All’s Well That Ends Well, Lear, Loves Labours Lost, Romeo and Juliet

Marygolds - [Pericles,] Prince of Tyre

Mandragora - Othello

Mistletoe - Titus Andronicus

Nettles - Othello, Coriolanus, Richard II

Oxlips - [A] Winter’s Tale, [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Peony - [The] Tempest

Primroses - Cymbeline, Henry VI part 2, [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Parsley - [The] Taming of the Shrew

Pimpernel - [The] Taming of the Shrew

Plantain - Romeo and Juliet

Pansies - Hamlet

Poppy - Othello

Rosemary - Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, [King] Lear, [Pericles,] Prince of Tyre

Rose – Crimson White Red, York & Lancaster - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, [The] Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Damask Juliet, Hamlet, Sonnets, Henry VI part 3, Union of the white & red roses in Richard I, Henry IV part 1

Rue - Hamlet

Spear Grass - Henry IV part 1

Savory - [A] Winter’s Tale

Thistle - Much Ado About Nothing

Thyme - [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream

Vetch - [The] Tempest

Violets - Hamlet, Loves Labours Lost, Cymbeline, [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, [A] Winter’s Tale, [Pericles,] Prince of Tyre

Wallflower - [A] Winter’s Tale,

Wormwood - Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet

The note ends: 

"Onions, Leeks and Garlic are under the roses in the basket. The Laurel over the shoulders of the bust is called the Alexandrian Laurel, and is what the Ancients used to crown their heroes. Clara Maria Pope,1835".

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