For all his fame and celebration, William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure with regards to personal history.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon,
allegedly on April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate
that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. Young William was born of John
Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local
heiress. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight
children in the Shakespeare household—three of whom died in childhood.
The next documented event in Shakespeare's life is his marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 at the time, and Anne was 26—and pregnant. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. The couple later had twins, Hamnet and Judith, born February 2, 1585 and christened at Holy Trinity. Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11, on August 11, 1596.
It is estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for an actor's troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well. His company was the most successful in London in his day. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or "penny-copies" to the more literate of his audiences. Never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career.
While Shakespeare might not be accounted wealthy by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611. William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616.
The shown deck was printed in chromolithography by Bernard Dondorf from Frankfurt, Germany, and originally made for C.W. Faulkner & Co in London ca. 1895. This first edition has a special embellished Ace of Spades with the name of C.W. Faulkner. From 1902 on the deck was published by Dondorf with a plain Ace of Spades as "No 192", with the notation "mit Darstellungen aus Shakespeares Dramen"(with Characters from Shakespeare's Drama's). The designs were made after the original paintings by John H. Bacon.
The deck consists of 52 cards and 1 special joker.
This is not the only deck that was made to commemorate William Shakespeare. Other decks are on xpo on the next pages.
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The text is a résumé of the Shakespeare Biography as given on the website of the Shakespeare Resource Center.