The Marlowe Society

A Portrait of Marlowe?

A Portrait of Marlowe?

This portrait may be of Christopher Marlowe. It was discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1952 and required extensive restoration work.

The age of the sitter and date of the portrait as inscribed in the top-left corner are generally thought to match Marlowe, who was born in February 1564, and who attended the College between 1580 to 1587. The inscription reads ANNO DNI AETATIS SVAE 21 1585, one translation of which is "Aged 21 in 1585".

You can read a more detailed consideration of the evidence for the portrait being of Marlowe in this article.

Beneath this is inscribed the motto, QVOD ME NVTRIT ME DESTRVIT, which translates from the Latin as "that which nourishes me destroys me".

A close-up of the inspcription on the Marlowe portrait: ANNO DNI AETATIS SVAE 21 1585 / QVOD ME NVTRIT ME DESTRVIT

Read more about the life and times of Christopher Marlowe, his plays and poetry, and how others have viewed him and his work. Also find out about the the eventful history of his Memorial in Canterbury.

Detail from the 1585 portrait, believed to be of the 21-year-old Christopher Marlowe, discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1953.

The 1585 portrait discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1952, may be of the 21-year-old Christopher Marlowe.