All that is Gold

“All that glitters is not gold”
is an aphorism stating that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so.

(Often, aphorisms are distinguished from other short sayings by the need for interpretation to make sense of them)

While early expressions of the idea are known from at least the 12th–13th century, the current saying is derived from a 16th-century line by William Shakespeare, “All that glisters is not gold”.

The popular form of the expression is a derivative of a line in William Shakespeare‘s play The Merchant of Venice, which employs the word “glisters,” a 16th-century synonym for “glitters.” The line comes from a secondary plot of the play, in the scroll inside the golden casket the puzzle of Portia‘s boxes.

  • All that glisters is not gold—
  • Often have you heard that told.
  • Many a man his life hath sold
  • But my outside to behold.
  • Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
  • Had you been as wise as bold,
  • Young in limbs, in judgment old,
  • Your answer had not been inscrolled
  • Fare you well. Your suit is cold
  • -William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

The phrase is referenced with a reversal of the usual meaning in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s poem “The Riddle of Strider”, originally written for The Fellowship of the Ring.

  • All that is gold does not glitter,
  • Not all those who wander are lost;
  • The old that is strong does not wither,
  • Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
  • From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
  • A light from the shadows shall spring;
  • Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
  • The crownless again shall be king.

I saw this as a print in someone’s room when I was in university, always been a huge Tolkien fan and actually did not know that he took this from William Shakespeare and just reversed the meaning. As stated in a few of the other short essays in artworks, a theme in our work is the notion of lost, and everything that comes with it. To be truly lost for me is the essence of exploration and experimentation. Graphically this piece is bold, dark and open ended with many different interpretations but ultimately its what ever it means to you that counts.

Prints are printed digitally, and hand signed / hand finished, only one size available in this particular print.

841mm x 841mm

Shipping and framing is not included.


Additional information

Print Size

841 x 841mm