The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive is a project Dr Michael Goodman has recently completed at Cardiff University. The archive contains over 3000 illustrations taken from the four major illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s Complete Works.
These illustrations have often been kept hidden away in special collections libraries and are a significant part of our construction of Shakespeare today. They were also a very important part of Victorian visual culture. Illustrators include Charles Knight, Kenny Meadows, John Gilbert, and H.C. Selous.
The images have all been ‘tidied’ up in Photoshop and the archive is embedded with social media and has a Creative Commons license so users can do whatever they like with them: remix, research or share. It’s an attempt to bring the visual culture of the past into the present and make it meaningful and resonant. The project was a real labour of love and Dr Goodman hopes to make Shakespeare more accessible to people who find his work difficult through focusing on the visual.