William Henry Ireland Forger of Shakespeare: Background information when reading The Lambs of London

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lambs of London

by Peter Ackroyd

The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd X
The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 224 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2007, 224 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

William Henry Ireland Forger of Shakespeare

This article relates to The Lambs of London

Print Review

William Henry Ireland was born in London in 1777. His father, Samuel Ireland, was a successful publisher of travelogues and collector of antiquities. At an early age William became a collector of books and while apprenticed to a mortgage lawyer he started to experiment with forgery - forging signatures on genuinely old paper.

In 1794 he claimed to have discovered an old deed with Shakespeare's signature on it - he presented said document to his overjoyed father, and over a period of time proceeded to make more finds relating to Shakespeare. In about 1795, at the tender age of 18, Ireland produced a whole new Shakespeare play, Vortigern and Rowena and sold the rights to the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In January 1796 his father published his own book about the discovered Shakespeare papers - by this time many people had started to take an interest in the matter and the plot started to unravel. In March 1796, Shakespeare scholar Edmond Malone published an exhaustive critique of the materials and concluded that they were fake.

The play opened on April 2, 1796 and was met with catcalls; it had only one performance. When his father was accused of the forgeries, William published a confession - but few believed that such a young man could have forged them by himself and poor old Samuel's reputation never recovered. William moved to France some years later. When he returned he published Vortigen and Rowena in his own name. It was a flop, but he did have some success with his gothic novels, poetry and illustrated histories.

Filed under Books and Authors

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Lambs of London. It originally ran in July 2006 and has been updated for the July 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Who Said...

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.