Painting thought to be the first portrait of William Shakespeare done in his lifetime

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A painting that may be the only surviving portrait of William Shakespeare made in his lifetime will be unveiled.

The picture, from 1610, six years before the playwright's death, has been in the possession of the Cobbe family since the early 18th century.

It was initially kept at a property in Hampshire but more recently in Hatchlands, the family house in Surrey, which is run by the National Trust.

For three centuries the family was unsure of the identity of the figure in the portrait. According to Alec Cobbe, an art restorer, at one time it had been thought to be of Sir Walter Raleigh.

The portrait is thought to have belonged initially to the third Earl of Southampton, who was Shakespeare's patron.

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