Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Image by Beverley Goodwin / CC BY 2.0

An academic claims he has found the only surviving portrait of Shakespeare made in his lifetime. Most images of the Stratford-upon-Avon playwright were made after his death, but botanist and historian Mark Griffiths claims he has cracked an ‘ingenious cipher’ to identify Shakespeare in a 400-year-old botany book. The title page features an engraving depicting four figures, one of whom holds objects linked to Shakespeare’s plays. ‘It may be monochrome, in fancy dress, and just 3.5 inches tall, but this is something that has been sought for centuries,’ Griffiths said. Fellow academics are likely to dissect the claims. Read more: