The exhibition creates a unique dialogue between an extraordinary array of objects – from great paintings and rare manuscripts to modest, everyday items of the time – and the plays and characters that have had a richer cultural legacy than any other in the western world. Among the objects linked to Shakespeare and his works are the Funeral Achievements of Henry V, which were on public display at Westminster Abbey in Shakespeare’s time and were written into the prologue of act five of Henry V, as ‘his bruisèd helmet and his bended sword’. The striking portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Moroccan Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I, depicts the head of a delegation of soldiers from Barbary who came to London in 1600 on a state visit. The presence of these men had a great impact on London at the time. They were a source of fascination and of fear. El-Ouahed and his men were in the city for six months and would certainly have been known to Shakespeare: they may well have informed the character of Othello, the soldier and ‘noble moor’.