The Princess Who Purchased William Shakespeare’s Chair

F. W. Fairholt in his 1847 work “Home of Shakspere” relates that an old oak  chair owned and well-used by John Shakespeare and his son William, at their home in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, attracted the attention of a certain Princess Czartoryska.

princess izabela czartoryska
Portrait of Izabela Czartoryska née Fleming (1746-1835) | © Alexander Roslin/ Wikimedia Commons

In 1790, during a visit to the Henley Street property to discover more about William Shakespeare, the princess became enamored with the chair and attempted to buy it, but her offer was refused.

Four months later still fixated on the chair, she sent a servant back to the house with 20 guineas and secured the purchase.

Princess Izabela Czartoryska was a Polish princess – a well-travelled writer and art lover. She founded Poland’s first museum, now the National Museum located in Krakow, Poland’s second largest city.

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