Shakespeare’s World in 100 objects: Number 82, a bust of Thomas Balsall

Today’s Shakespeare in a 100 objects is a two part video blog by Victoria Jackson, a doctoral researcher from the History Department at the University of Birmingham. In part one, Victoria talks about a small carved sculpture from the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which depicts Thomas Balsall, Dean of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon in the late 15th century. In the second part Victoria visits Holy Trinity where she compares the sculpture to the funeral bust of William Shakespeare and talks about the significance of such sculpture to the local community.

Part One: A bust of Thomas Balsall from the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


Part Two: Holy Trinity and the funeral bust of William Shakespeare.

  • Liski

    Thank you, Victoria! It was interesting. Moreover, these videos serve as my auditory practiсe.

  • Harry Newman

    Fascinating stuff – it’s really great to get a hands-on guide to the object. Looking forward to future video blogs!

  • Victoria

    Thanks Liski. I’m going to do another video blog in a couple of weeks, so please watch out for it!

  • Victoria

    Thank you Dr. Newman. I thought the hands-on aspect was good as well – it works nicely with the 3-dimensional qualities of the sculpture. I will be filming another video blog in a couple of weeks.

  • Jim Jackson

    You really present well and with more practice it will just keep getting better and better!

  • Jim Jackson

    When I watched the blogs they made me wonder how Balsall was relevant in Shakespeare’s life. Were they alive at the same time? Did their paths cross? Were they friends, enemies, supporters of each others causes, etc.

    Looking forward to the next video!

  • Victoria

    Thanks for your comments! Balsall actually died more than 70 years before Shakespeare was born, so their paths never crossed. However, as Shakespeare was baptised and is buried in the chancel that Balsall built, it’s interesting to speculate whether Shakespeare would have known of Balsall as an important historical figure in Stratford-upon-Avon. Even though these 2 men are buried only a few feet from one another, their worlds and experiences of daily life was probably very different from one another.

  • Jessie

    Great blog Victoria! I read these blogs every month so it is nice to put a face to a name. I’m really excited to hear you will be doing more video blogs in the future. Please be sure to inform all of the blog readers when these blogs get published in a book as I know people would like to get their hands on them!

  • Corrie

    Excellent blog-so informative! I look forward to all of your posts-these would make such a wonderful book! It is such a great insight into the life of Shakespeare…looking forward to the next installment

  • Lorraine

    I have a couple of thoughts. First, you’re very engaging on camera, and that’s not something you can learn – either you have it, or you don’t. You have it.

    In the first video clip, it would have been nice if your prompter had been a little more front and center, instead of off to your right. it was distracting watching you look over to see where you were. If you’re using a fixed camera, you might want to find a stool or something to put your prompter on, so that it’s much closer to the camera’s point of view. As to the content of the lecture, I kept waiting for you to turn the sculpture around so I could get a 360 view of it.

    Same comments for the second video. Your prompter was in a better place, but still a little too far out of your natural viewpoint.

    Most excellent, Victoria! Now I’ll have to keep an eye on your blog!

  • Simon

    Hello,
    I was wondering if or when you were going to post another video blog? I used this one as a teaching video for my year 8s and 9s and it was very successful.

  • Victoria

    Hi Simon, it’s great to hear that the blog was a useful teaching tool for your students! I will be filming and posting another video blog around the first week of September.

A freely available online exhibition exploring keys aspects of the music in Shakespeare’s plays, as well as music inspired by Shakespeare.