Illustrated Menagerie: Shakespeare's Animals
Business Lounge, FREE.
Illustrated Menagerie: Shakespeare's Animals

Illustrated Menagerie: Shakespeare's Animals

Thursday 24 Mar 2016 - Tuesday 07 Jun 2016
Business Lounge, FREE.

Please note that this event has passed.


A group exhibition of work by first year BA (Hons) Illustration students at the School of Art and Design, University of Portsmouth and curated by Nicola Hay, Senior Lecturer in Illustration. 

As part of the ongoing partnership with the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) at the University of Portsmouth, CCI staff were invited to submit a proposal to showcase new creative work as part of our ongoing exhibition programme to enrich the visual and cultural experience of visitors to the Guildhall. The aim is to offer students and alumni an opportunity to showcase their work to a broad public audience, developing their professional creative practice.

For this exhibition, staff were asked to submit proposals on a theme of their choice. The selected proposal was submitted by Nicola Hay, Senior Lecturer in Illustration. The selection panel looked for creative excellence in the concept and inspiration; a clear method of display and the number of students involved and how they would benefit. The judges were Catherine Harper (Dean for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries), Andy Grays (CEO of Portsmouth Cultural Trust), Ann Barnes (Curator, Portsmouth Cultural Trust) and Denise Callender (CCI Faculty Promotions Manager).

Illustrated Menagerie is an annual project undertaken by Illustration first year students. As part of the ‘Much Ado about Portsmouth’ festival ( in April 2016, Portsmouth will be host to a festival marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. The Illustrated Menagerie is taking part in this festival by taking on Shakespeare’s Animals as the subject matter.

Bears, dogs, foxes, goats, sharks, hawks, cats, toads, stags, rats and what they can represent are some of the many characteristics with which Shakespeare imbues his characters. These animals are just some of the thirty one creatures featured in this group piece.

47 first year students have worked together to produce artwork to form this collaborative piece. The project has helped in promoting student skills and mutual support and has aided further cohesion of the group. The group created a scroll illustrating the animals of Shakespeare attempting to instill the illustrations with something of the spirit Shakespeare intended. The imagery reflects the range of exploration of media and imagery to convey the creatures and is varied as the animals themselves.

Central to the nature of the project is the research undertaken by the students to really get ‘under the skin’ of their animal of choice, to seek to represent it in a wide variety of ways. They explored and tested the results against Shakespeare’s literal and figurative use of animals in his writings. The interdisciplinary breadth of research had students looking at their animal literally from the inside out and involved thorough understanding of the physiology, behaviour and habitat of the creature as well as the history of its representation, its social and cultural meanings and of course how its characteristics are employed with Shakespeare’s plays.

To see more of the work and for more information about the project please visit the project blog at:

Please note that all galleries will be closed on the following dates due to private functions:

  • Saturday 28th May
  • Saturday 4th & 11th June
Car Parking Discounted parking tickets are available online or at the box office.
Drinking Kindly note no flash photography or iPads are allowed, and neither is externally bought drinks or any liquids - only certain food will be allowed. See our House Rules for more info.

All events at Portsmouth Guildhall include a 50p per ticket restoration levy. This restoration levy will help us to invest in maintaining and enhancing facilities within our historic Grade II Listed building, ensuring that we continue to deliver the highest quality experience for event goers, artists and promoters. We appreciate your on going support for Portsmouth Guildhall. This is effective on all events that go on sale as of March 1st 2016.

« Return to Events