Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A glimpse into the world of Shakespeare and money in the 16th and 17th centuries

What would it be like to live in Elizabethan England? One might be lucky enough to dress in embroidered clothing and commission portraits, or one might be forced to beg for alms in order to survive. Art in the 15th and 16th centuries, whether in paintings, maps, sketches, or engravings, gives us some idea of the social and economic structure of England at the time. They also provide insight into how money and wealth influenced Shakespeare and his work, ranging from his depiction of royalty to tradesmen, actors to beggars.

Featured Image: “Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things” by Sophie Gengembre Anderson. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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