Whilst searching for material for the summer exhibition at Valentines Mansion, which will celebrate the life of Shakespeare in the year that marks the 400th anniversary of his death, Julian Walker, one of the Mansions’ Studio Artists made a very timely discovery! A book on the great poet, playwright and actor which was written and inscribed by Clement Ingleby, previous resident of Valentines Mansion was spotted for sale on Ebay! Julian was quick to purchase this great find, and we’re thrilled to have it back at Valentines Mansion.
The discovery of ‘Shakespeare’s Bones’ by Clement Ingleby is very relevant for what is happening at the moment in the four-hundredth centenary commemorations, as it deals with the ethics of opening Shakespeare’s tomb for study purposes. “Ingleby’s quest in his study was to authenticate any of the known paintings of Shakespeare from the shape of his skull, if his skull could be identified. The recent scan has shown no evidence of human remains in the tomb, reviving the debate as to whether Shakespeare was ever buried there. Given the inconclusiveness of the evidence, and the curse on opening the tomb, we are no nearer knowing what Shakespeare really looked like than Ingleby was – so his question is still with us” elaborates Julian Walker.
This copy of the book was given by Clement Ingleby to the Shakespeare Information Centre in 1883 with the inscription “With the compliments of the author S M Ingleby” and there is a real sense of its presence at Valentines completing a Shakespeare circle in this anniversary year.
Clement Ingleby moved lived at Valentines Mansion from c1860 with his wife, Sarah Ingleby, the last private owner of the Mansion and a much-loved and well respected member of the Ilford community. Although formally trained in the legal profession, his main interest was in English literature, especially dramatic literature and the works of Shakespeare. He was a Trustee of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and he took an active part in the festivities held in Birmingham in 1864 to celebrate the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth.
The book will be on display as a highlight in our ‘Shakespeare in Redbridge’ exhibition at Valentines Mansion this summer; Redbridge residents are invited to participate in the show by lending material – photographs or programmes of Shakespeare performances in the borough, Shakespeare memorabilia, or special volumes of texts – for display at Valentines Mansion during August. Please contact Valentines Mansion on 020 8708 8100 if you have anything suitable.
With thanks to the Valentines Mansion Trust for purchasing this book for Valentines Mansion & Gardens.