CNNANCHOR:Now, William Shakespeare was the greatest writer in the English language, as he's been considered, but what did he actually look like?
CNNANCHOR :Experts now say they have the answer in a picture worth a lot more than a thousand words. So, Nicholas Glass has more.
NICHOLAS GLASS, ITV REPORTER :Somewhere in the melee behind me is this new discovery, this new portrait, it is claimed of William Shakespeare. It's owned by an Anglo-Irish family, the Cobbs, and it's been hanging in their drawing room in their house outside Dublin for the better part of 200 years.
It was mislabeled as being Sir Walter Raleigh. The gentleman sumptuously attired in the height of Jacobean fashion, doublet and collar of Italian lace-long-nosed, fine-bearded, keen-eyed and, to our surprise, blessed with a fullish head of hair.
There's intelligence here, a presence. Is this William Shakespeare as we've never seen him before, a penetrating likeness painted during his lifetime? So good is the portrait that one imagines the subject sat for it.
NICHOLAS GLASS, ITV REPORTER:We know so little about Shakespeare the man, what he was like as a friend, a lover, a husband. Our idea of what he looked like is based on the engraving in the "First Folio." The Anglo-Flemish engraver Martin Droeshout has almost certainly based his image on something else. Could it have been this painting?
There's compelling evidence that this portrait was commissioned and indeed owned by the Earl of Southampton, and for some Shakespeare scholars, that's persuasive enough.