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Chiswick couple launch online Shakespeare riddle set to intrigue the nation

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Patricia and Patrick Padget


Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Theatre Tour is open daily: Adults £10.50; Children (aged 5 – 15) £6.50; Students (with valid ID) £8.50; Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children) £28. Availability varies due to theatre performances and other events: please call 020 7902 1500 for specific availability.

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A precious gilded mask has been unveiled to reveal ‘Shakespeare’s Treasure’ - the prize that will be awarded to the winner of year-long online challenge by the same name.

The competition, which goes live on 23rd April 2010 marking Shakespeare’s Birthday is the brainchild of Patrick and Patricia Padget. The Chiswick couple ran a highly successful design business until their son Nicholas tragically died in 2006 aged just 27 years.

Unable to face every day life, they together sought solace in art and literature. Over two years in development, Patrick said the competition has been their salvation.

Explaining the inspiration for the project, Patrick Padget said; “William Shakespeare, Gwyneth Paltrow, Christopher Marlowe, Pete Le May, Dora Maar, Hans Holbein the Younger, Geoff Pimlott, Anthony Sher, Dominic Dromgoole, Vincent Van Gogh and Kit Williams have all had a hand in this.”

Referring to the mask, Patrick added, “This mask is the personification of our secret – a riddle, a conundrum, a virtually “hidden” treasure which also has talismanic qualities – since this treasure was conceived our lives have been transformed and everyone who touches the mask has something wonderful happen in their own lives.”

Describing the competition as ‘a gift’; “It has been an inspirational project and has restored a small part of the happiness that used to pervade our lives,” concluded Patrick.

The gilded mask, estimated to be worth ‘thousands of pounds’ is inlaid with both precious and semi-precious stones has been designed and hand-made by Anna Hedman (pictured left) a goldsmith currently studying at the Royal College of Art. The mask is as unique and intriguing as the competition itself.

Both Shakespeare and puzzle enthusiasts are invited to first answer a set of random questions related to Shakespeare, after which they move on to study the quotes within the paintings. Each quote helps to solve a riddle which in turn gives rise to a final question. Once solved, entrants will discover the hidden whereabouts of the mask, which has been ‘virtually hidden’ somewhere around the UK. Each correct entry will have a chance to be drawn as the overall winner at the end of the contest.

Shakespeare’s Treasure seeks to celebrate the works of William Shakespeare and has been devised around a collection of 37 specially commissioned paintings – one for each of his plays. All of the pictures have been fashioned using watercolour with oil, egg tempura and raw pigments, together with copper, silver and other materials such as Venetian glass, gold leaf and semi-precious metals.

Each of the paintings pays homage to a work of art that currently hangs in London’s National Gallery. But look closely, as they all conceal a hidden clue and quotation from one of Shakespeare’s plays which trigger a fascinating conundrum to be solved.

Entry to the competition costs £10 and is via the dedicated website

All entries will help contribute to Nick’s Fund, which supports both the Shakespeare Globe Education Trust (which helps disadvantaged youngsters get involved in the arts) and The Children’s Society. Nick’s Fund is a charitable foundation that has been set up in memory of Nicholas Padget.

More information about Nick Padget and his own personal achievements can be found on the website at where direct donations can also be made.

All 37 pictures can be seen in the Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition, Bankside for the next twelve months (official dates are 23rd April 2010 – 22nd April 2011). For more information, visit the independent competition website at

April 22, 2010