26 Drawings Illustrating Works of Shakespeare
[detailed descriptions entered only for a few]

Dublin Core


Shakespeare's Works; Shakespeare (Portrait)


[All descriptions as on Folger site]

"SHAKSPERE" [sic]. [printed title]
Description Folger: "portrait surrounded by a muse, clown, lion, cupids, and various characters from his plays".
Signed and dated 1832. 

Hamlet, I, 5
[no inscription]
Ghost [in armor] and Hamlet.
Night scene with full moon. 
Signed and dated 1829.
Ghost (also known as King Hamlet) appears and reveals to Hamlet that he is, in fact, his dead father. Ghost also reveals that he was murdered by his brother Claudius and that Claudius seduced his wife. Prince Hamlet is asked to get revenge on Claudius but to leave his mother alone. Ghost has a limited amount of time and must disappear when the sun comes up. Ghost is depicted with a fog around him and all gray, whereas, Hamlet has color to him. This distinguishes the dead from the living. The sun is coming up in the background, marking the end of his time. Ghost is already turning away from Prince Hamlet and Hamlet reaches out, suggesting that Ghost is in fact leaving.

Hamlet, III, 3 
[no inscription]
"Now might I do it pat, now he is praying"
[Hamlet praying in front of an altar with cross].
Signed and dated 1829.
It’s in this scene that Claudius devises a plan with two others who are loyal to him to send Hamlet off to England because Hamlet could be a threat to his life. Later in the act, Hamlet goes to see his mother not knowing Polonius is hiding and eavesdropping on their conversation. Claudius once alone kneels at his altar and tries to pray. He admits to killing his brother. Hamlet witnesses him in a vulnerable state and begins to draw his sword. However, he stops when he believes he is hearing Claudius asking for forgiveness because then he might go to heaven and would not be punished for his father’s murder.
   In the image, Claudius is kneeling at the altar with cross, with his hands over his chest. Hamlet is lurking in the background just outside the room. Hamlet has a hand reaching for his sword as if he is about to draw it. The puzzled look on Hamlet’s face is a way to convey his hesitation because of the prayer.

Hamlet, III, 4
Ghost, Queen, and Hamlet
Signed and dated 1829. 
Hamlet is visiting with his mother as Polonius is eavesdropping on the conversation. Polonius instructed Gertrude to be very blunt with Hamlet, then hid behind a curtain. They  argue about offending his father (referring to his Uncle Claudius/now stepfather or King Hamlet/Ghost). Hamlet acts aggressively, and she calls for help. Polonius also yells for help from behind the curtain. This leads to Hamlet stabbing Polonius through the curtain. Ghost then appears and requests that Hamlet be nicer to his mother. Only Hamlet can see Ghost, and Gertrude believes that Prince Hamlet is going mad. However, he reassures her and asks for her to confess her guilt to him and to heaven.
   In this image Ghost, Gertrude, and Prince Hamlet can easily be recognized. Polonius at the bottom of the right-hand corner seems already dead, as his skin is gray. There is a chair knocked over from the fight. Gertrude has a shocked look, conveying her  thinking Hamlet is going mad. Ghost is looking sternly right at Hamlet, being upset with him. .

Hamlet IV, 7 Ophelia
[no inscription]
Ophelia falling into the water
Not dated [1829?]
In the play, Gertrude brings the news that Ophelia has drowned while weaving flowers near the river. This image shows Ophelia holding a flower crown in her hand and also a broken branch. The branch suggests that her death was an accident and that she did not seek death.

King Henry IV. pt. 1, II, 3
[no inscription]
"In faith I'll break thy little finger Harry"
Signed and dated 1829

King Henry IV, pt. 1, II, 4,
[no inscription]
Falstaff enacting the part of the king

Not dated [1829?]

King Henry IV, pt. 1, III, 5
[no inscription]
Prince Henry and Falstaff on plain near Shrewsbury
Signed and dated 1829

King Henry IV, pt. 1, IV, 2 [public road near Coventry]
inscription "A mad fellow met me on the way, and told me, I had unloaded all the gibbets, and mess'd the dead bodies, no eye hath seen such scare crows"
Sign. and dated 1829

King Lear, III, 2, Another part of the heath, enter Lear and the fool. [title in Folger]
Sign. "J H Ramberg / 1829" 

King Lear, III, 6
[no inscription]
chamber in a farm house, Kent, Gloucester, and fool bearing the king
Signed and dated 1829

King Lear, III, 7
[no inscription]
Reg.: "Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell his way to Dover"
Signed and dated 1829

King Lear, IV,6 
Edgar killing Oswald
Dated 1829. [Signed?]

King Lear, IV, 7
a tent in the French camp
Signed and dated 1829

King Richard, IV, 3
murder of the princes in the tower
Signed and dated 1831

King Richard, V, 4 
"A horse, a horse "
Signed and dated 1830

Macbeth I, 3
Macbeth & Banquo on the heath [with the three witches]
Signed and dated 1828.

In this scene, Macbeth and Banquo are approached on their way back from a battle by the three witches who give them three prophecies. Macbeths is foretold that he would be named Thane of Cawdor and then one day King. Banquo’s prophecy is that he will be a father to future kings.
 Macbeth and Banquo are on the right, wearing helmet with feathers. The three witches, all hunched over, are on the left. The left side of the sky is much darker and has a streak of lightning in the background, adding to the mysteriousness of the witches.

Macbeth, I, 5
Lady Macbeth with the letter
Signed and dated 1829
Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth regarding his encounter with the witches. He reveals the prophecies they gave for him, leaving out Banquo’s prophecy. Lady Macbeth is also informed that the King will be coming to stay in their home. She creates a plan to kill the current King to ensure that Macbeth will become King.
   Lady Macbeth is holding the letter in one of her hands and the other is brought to her chin, a common attitude of reflection. Behind her is one of the witches, holding a knife with the handle towards Lady Macbeth as if she is enticing her. In the other hand she is holding a crown, conveying Lady Macbeth's dark thoughts plotting to kill the current King. There is also a creepy hand coming out from behind the large mirror to the right. It seems to be holding an hour glass, suggesting that she must decide quickly.  

Macbeth, IV, 1
Macbeth in witches cave
Signed and dated 1829

Macbeth, V, 1
Ghost [in armor] and Hamlet. [Night scene exterior with full moon]
Signed and dated 1829

Macbeth, V, 1
sleepwalking scene, Lady Macbeth
Signed and dated 1829

Merchant of Venice
Inscription "Shylock and Jessica"
Different format! Image 9 3/8 high x 6 3/4 in.
Not dated. 

The Tempest, II, 2
Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo on seashore
Signed, not dated.

The Tempest, III, 1,
Inscription [top] Tempest
"Act III / Scene 1.   Miranda: If you'll sit down, I'll bear your logs the / while, pray give me that, I'll carry't to the pile" [title in Folger]
Sign. "J H Ramberg / 1830"

Timon of Athens, IV, 1
"Without the walls of Athens"
[no inscription]
Signed and dated 1829 

Timon of Athens, IV, 3
[no inscription]
Timon laying aside the gold
Signed and dated 1829

Timon of Athens, IV, 3
[no inscription]
Timon giving away the gold to Phrynia and Fernandra
Signed and dated 1829.






Folger Shakespeare Library


[check: all same format?]
image 15 x 19 3/8 in.; support 17 / 21 in.


Stuart Sillars bezweifelt die Autorschaft Rambergs, denn sie unterscheiden sich im Stil stark von seinen anderen Shakespeare-Illustrationen. Siehe Sillars: Shakespeare Seen. Image, Performance, and Society. Cambridge 2019.

No photos available.