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Exhibit Catalog to the Morris County Historical Society's "Out of the Closet" Exhibition

Shakespeare and His Friends

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Click picture to enlarge

John Faed (artist)
James Faed (engraver)
Shakespeare and His Friends [at the Mermaid Tavern]
Circa 1850
Engraving on paper
28 x 22 in.
 
From the Collection of Mary Crane Hone

The Background
 
The members of the literary club who met at the Mermaid Tavern called themselves the Friday Club, so named for the address of the tavern, which was on Friday Street in Chiswick, England. It is unknown whether or not Shakespeare actually attended the meetings, but William Johnson, the owner of the Mermaid, was a business associate of Shakespeare's so it is likely that he at least set foot in the tavern at one time or another.
 
 
 
The Engraving
 
Also known as "Shakespeare and his Friends at the Mermaid Tavern," this engraving's focal point is William Shakespeare as he sits among his literary contemporaries. The group in this engraving includes:
 
(Standing, from left to right)
Sylvester, Selden, Beaumont .... Sir Walter Raleigh, Earl of Southampton
 
(Seated, from left to right)
 
To view the original painting, click here.
 
 
 
 
The Artist: John Faed
 
John Faed, the eldest brother in a remarkably artistic family, was born in Gatehouse of Fleet, Scotland in 1819. By the age of nine, he was painting miniatures of local dignitaries. In 1840, he left his native town for Edinburgh, in order to further his career. From 1841 to 1895, he exhibited his work at the Royal Scottish Academy, where he became a full member in 1851. John painted mostly Scottish historical and literary scenes, inspired by the writings of Scott, Burns, and Shakespeare. In 1864, he moved to London, but eventually moved back to his native town of Gatehouse of Fleet in 1880.
 
 
 
The Engraver: James Faed
 
James Faed, John's Faed younger brother, was born in 1821 in Gatehouse of Fleet, Scotland. He became a well-known engraver and executed over 140 plates for many contemporary artists including Sir Daniel Macnee, Sir Francis Grant and Sir Joseph Noel Paton. His portrait engravings became widely in demand, and he even was commissioned to engrave a royal portrait of Queen Victoria and Prince Arthur. James died suddenly in Edinburgh in 1911 at the age of ninety.