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As a rule, I avoid touristy places and huge throngs. But when Roy and Jane Underhill invited me to tag along to Stratford-on-Avon to see William Shakespeare’s birthplace, I couldn’t say no. After all, Roy could turn a root canal into a party.

As expected, the town was packed with tourists and tacky trinkets. But the Shakespeare family home and gardens were very well done.


And that would be the end of this blog entry if the building weren’t filled with all manner of reproductions and originals of early English oak furniture. The museum staff has stocked the home with lots of interesting examples to show what the rooms could have looked like when furnished in the late 1500s and early 1600s.

Roy and I immediately whipped out our cameras and began crawling on the floor to take photos of the stuff. Honest: We weren’t the worst-behaved visitors.

I’ve compiled a gallery of my favorite pieces from the house – there were lots and lots of good examples. Plus, I’ve included some notes in the captions of some of the pieces that are unusual to the modern eye.

— Christopher Schwarz

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  • DSiler

    Thanks for posting these, Chris. As a professor of Shakespeare studies I often take student groups to the Shakespeare Birthplace, but have never been allowed to photograph anything there, so it is great to see some of the pieces you captured. Did you happen to get any shots of the tall stools the docents sit on when resting? I have always been particularly attracted to that design and wanted to reproduce it, but, again, no photos. I would love to see a future reproduction of one of these pieces on your blog.

  • polaski

    Did you see the “second-best bed”?

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