Huntington Library and Gardens. He looks like a friendly, handsome guy, doesn't he? Maybe, maybe not.
The Huntington owns many fine portraits. I especially admire those by the great Sir Joshua Reynolds, who knew how to make a likeness look like it was painted from life. But none of the portraits in their collection are of Shakespeare. Only two likenesses of Shakespeare have been proven to be definitive. Both are posthumous. One is the funerary monument that looks over his grave inside Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-on-Avon, England. The other is an engraving by Martin Droeshout, printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare in 1623 (Shakespeare died in 1616). Many have claimed to own a portrait of Shakespeare, but only these two are proven to be the real thing.
It's thought that about 1,000 Shakespeare First Folios were printed back in 1623. Of the 228 still extant, one is housed at the Huntington Library. It's one of the most valuable books in the world and it's often on display for viewing by the likes of you and me.
I had long been using the Folio in my research when I had the good fortune to study Shakespeare in England one summer. My teachers included members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I got to walk the ground Shakespeare walked. I went to Stratford-on-Avon and visited Shakespeare's grave. I returned to the States with a reverence for the bona fide genius of the man.
My First Folio is a 20th century facsimile copy of the original. Every once in a while I like to make a pilgrimage to the Huntington to see the real thing.