“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
Thus does Dorothy Boux take her theme and use her skills of calligraphy and design to reflect some of the best known passages from the Bard’s works. Like the actor, the art of the calligrapher is to bring the words to life, by allowing them to speak for themselves and the beauty of her writing and colour enhances the impact of the texts.
“You can never start too young with the greatest poetry, and once learnt, it is a treasure for the whole life”, wrote Bernard Levin in The Times and Dorothy Boux uses pen and brush to help young and old alike discover the riches of Shakespeare.
As an aid to the reader, the book is divided into four sections:
All the World’s a Stage: Basically light hearted – a time of innocence, scenes include those from Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Toil and Trouble: Tending to the dark and sinister – murder, despair, but finally, leading to more propitious times with Duke Senior’s speech from As You Like It: “Sweet are the uses of adversity …. tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything …. I would not change it.” Other extracts include those from King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida.
The Port of Mars: Evoking aspects of war – imagery from Henry V, Richard II, Julius Caesar, Richard III and other plays – highlighting the best and worst of man until finally, the need for healing and for peace with “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.”
Who Chooseth Me: Based on Bassanio’s choice of the lead casket in The Merchant of Venice and his prize, the fair and wealthy Portia and considering affluence, power, and other riches – both temporal and spiritual with man being drawn back to the real richness and beauty of the soul. The passages reflecting this contrast include those from Timon of Athens, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and The Taming of the Shrew.
Dorothy Boux, born and brought up in Derbyshire, had three children and eleven grandchildren. She started drawing at an early age, but her interest in calligraphy came later. She printed her first book herself on an old hand press. Her two subsequent books were produced entirely in calligraphic script and beautifully illustrated throughout, labours of love, each of which took several years to complete. Both were published by Shepheard-Walwyn: Images of Christmas and The Golden Thread.
Keywords: Shakespeare, Art