I prithee sit by me awhile

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I was hoping to write a long piece about the Shakespeare book bench (I have really loved the whole book bench concept), with details of the buildings on it and why they had been chosen, but when I went to take more detailed pictures, I found the bench had already been removed – and alas I don’t think my piggy-bank will stretch to my successfully buying it at the upcoming auction…

So here is the one photo I have of it in situ:

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The back of the bench – which I have no photos of, this was the best one I can find on the internet – is I think rather more handsome than the front.

The artist was Lucy Dalzell, not someone I am particularly familiar with, and neither her blurb nor the official book bench website is very forthcoming on the logic behind the illustration. Half an hour spent with Google and the zoom function has led to me to positively identify some buildings – the Globe itself, the next door Bear Pit, various monuments around the City including the Tower of London, the Guildhall and St Paul’s cathedral (the old, gothic one), and number of other buildings (Marshalsea, Lincoln’s Inn, Fleet Prison). The only one of I know with a definite connection to Shakespeare is Middle Temple, where Twelfth Night had its first recorded performance.

If anyone knows of any specific reasons for the locations shown, please share it with me. In the meantime, I’m going round looking at places where Shakespeare did perform his plays – although most of them seem to have been burned down…

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