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The portrait of Barnabas Collins was commissioned in the late 18th century and featured Barnabas adorned in much of his trademark jewelry from that time period, including his black signet ring, a brooch and his wolf's-head cane. Some time in the 20th century, the portrait was hung in the foyer at Collinwood, where it has remained ever since. The portrait helped Barnabas to "prove" his credentials as a "direct descendant" of his "namesake" because of the uncanny resemblance between the two.

Note: The original portrait of Barnabas Collins is not to be confused with the modern portrait, painted by Sam Evans in 1967.

Background information and notes[]

  • Producer Bob Costello posed -— in costume —- for the photograph that was the source of the final prop painting; the head of the portrait was left blank until the role of Barnabas was cast, then added.[1]
  • The portrait first appears in episode 204 during the closing credits.
  • Two versions of this portrait were made during the run of the series. During the time House of Dark Shadows was being filmed, the original 18th-century portrait of Barnabas went missing from the television studio. Another portrait was made to resemble the original for use on the television series during 1970 parallel time. This portrait of Barnabas is discovered by Amy Collins and Daniel Collins in 1003. It is rehung in the foyer in episode 1008.
  • In 1840, the portrait of Barnabas hangs in the room of Ben Stokes, Barnabas’ faithful servant from 1795, who was still alive in 1840. After Ben dies, the portrait is rehung in the Collinwood foyer. In 1841 parallel time, the portrait of Barnabas does not hang in the foyer until the last episode. The portrait is seen midway through the parallel time 1841 story when Julia Collins delivers it as a wedding present to Bramwell and Daphne at the Old House.  But in the final episode, at the end of the final scene, the portrait is shown in close-up in Collinwood's foyer with a final voice-over by Thayer David telling what became of the characters.


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  1. Dark Shadows Online, DVD commentary by Bob Costello.