This portrait of a middle-aged man is modeled loosely on that painted by Benjamin Wilson in 1770, long after Spenser’s death, which was based on an engraving made in 1727 by George Vertue of a supposed portrait of Edmund Spenser in the collection of John Guise. The sitter’s dress would suit Spenser’s relatively modest means. Spenser was described in his time as having short-cut hair.
No authoritative likeness of Spenser is known to exist. This portrait and the one next to it, a hypothetical one of Spenser’s second wife, Elizabeth Boyle, are presented as if they formed a pair and were commissioned for their wedding day in 1594.
Further description of the recreated portrait (by Joyce Joines Newman) can be found here.
Andrew Hadfield, Edmund Spenser: A Life (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012): 413-8.
Tarnya Cooper and Andrew Hadfield, “Edmund Spenser and Eizabethan Portraiture.“ Renaissance Studies 27.3 (June 2013), 18-21.