January 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive

Love looks not with the eyes ... but we do, which is why a new digital archive of 3,000 illustrations, taken from four different Victorian editions of Shakespeare's Complete Works, is a dazzling resource. The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive was created by Dr. Michael John Goodman, who single-handedly scanned each image as part of his PhD program at Cardiff University in Wales.

Bianca.jpgAbove: "Bianca and Lucentio" (Act III, The Taming of the Shrew), illustrated by H. C. Selous.

The archive is searchable by illustrator and by play, but Goodman also offers word clouds of thematic search terms (e.g., books, witches, skulls), which reveals the frequency of certain ideas and elements. "The database emphasizes that there really is a 'Shakespeare Universe' where different motifs, ideas, and themes recur," Goodman told Cardiff News.

Macbeth.jpgAbove: Header (Act I, Macbeth), illustrated by John Gilbert.

Goodman isolated each image into a black-and-white downloadable file, but he also makes available the original source page. By design, all of the content is free to use, remix, and share through a Creative Commons license. According to Cardiff News, "This is a new kind of academic resource that will appeal as much to Shakespeare scholars and Victorianists as to artists, makers, and creators."

Hamlet.jpgAbove: "This Same Skull, Sir, Was Yorick's Skull" (Act V, Hamlet), illustrated by Kenny Meadows.

All images courtesy of Michael John Goodman, The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive.