William Shakespeare’s final will is among a treasure trove of documents linked to the Bard’s life that went on show at London’s Somerset House this week.
The collection, gathered from the National Archives, casts light on his rise to prominence in the cut-throat world of London theatre, and includes four examples of his rarely seen signature.
It includes his 1616 will, which gives evidence of his wealth and lists bequests of memorial rings for his actor friends and a silver bowl for his daughter. There are also court papers alleging a “violent theft” of material from a north London theatre which was used to build The Globe, where Shakespeare worked. Other documents detail which plays were performed at the royal court.