Elizabeth E. Schuch, a.k.a. immortallongings, is a London-based designer whose award-winning artwork, The Immortal Longings Series, is currently featured in Shakespeare’s Globe Shop in London and in theatres internationally. Her Opera Series illustrations can be found at The Metropolitan Opera in N.Y.C., and current projects include storyboarding a BBC TV show, and designing a circus theatre production.
In a suitably Shakespearean twist, the time-honoured playwright becomes our muse on his birthday today, as Elizabeth takes us on a tour via Etsy items of some of his most well-loved works.
As an illustrator and designer, I look to the world of theatre for my inspiration. Velvet curtains, bustling around in the dark behind the scenes, bright lights, opening nights, thrilling drama… it’s an addictive place.
It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by William Shakespeare, and it’s more than just the loveliness of the verse. The characters themselves, and the moods that surround each poem and play are magical.
Photos via sadieolive
So, to celebrate and set the stage for the birthday of the Bard, I suggest conjuring up the mood of your favourite kind of Shakespeare…
“Eternity was in our lips and eyes, â€¨Bliss in our brows bent.”— Antony and Cleopatra
Do you dream of ancient times and glamorous indulgence? Cleopatra, last Pharaoh of Egypt, was famed for her historical skills of seduction, and inspired some thrilling quotes in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Find some linen, grapes, and feather fans, and just recline.
“To sleep, perchance to dream.” — Hamlet
Do you prefer a more brooding sort of Shakespeare? Take the melancholy Danish prince Hamlet as your guide. Grab a handy skull, adorn yourself with blackest black, forsake friendship and exercise, and retreat to a quiet window to ponder the meaning of it all. You may also plot revenge, but please don’t seek to carry it out, as that would spoil the atmosphere.
“Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.” — Romeo and Juliet
Whether the courtship is comprised of witty banter or shy glances, and whether it ends with wedded bliss or tragedy, Shakespeare’s lovers are some of the world’s most intriguing.
If Romeo and Juliet describes your approach to love, let yourself run away with the romantic. Have a secret breakfast in your boudoir, dress for a masked ball, or pine away on any convenient balcony.
“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.” — A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Use Shakespeare as your writing mentor to wax poetic. This is best done by moonlight, with a good quill and your best journal, wearing a velvet cap and with a bottle of your preferred indulgence at hand.
“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.” — The Tempest
Are you drawn to faerie dust and enchanting spells, or to Pre-Raphaelite tragic heroines? Cultivate a dreamy Ophelia disposition. Start by wrapping yourself in a filmy gown, then dip your toes in a warm bath strewn with flowers. Humming distractedly helps, but is not required.
However you decide to celebrate, Shakespeare’s birthday is a brilliant excuse to enjoy the dramatic side of life. The rest is silence.
Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her passion for the UK’s beloved poet with us! Check out her incredible work in the Seller’s Items and more of her Shakespeare-inspired picks in the Related Items.
What’s your favourite work of Shakespeare? Let us know in the comments section below!