King Richard III

1 portrait of King Richard III

King Richard III, by Unknown artist, late 16th century (late 15th century) - NPG 148 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Richard III

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, late 16th century (late 15th century)
25 1/8 in. x 18 1/2 in. (638 mm x 470 mm)
Given by James Thomson Gibson-Craig, 1862
Primary Collection
NPG 148


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Sitterback to top

  • King Richard III (1452-1485), Reigned 1483-5. Sitter associated with 24 portraits.

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Richard III was the last Plantagenet king of England. As Duke of Gloucester he was a staunch supporter of his elder brother Edward IV against the Lancastrians, but after Edward's death he steadily assumed power during the minority of Edward V, and was crowned in his place. When in 1483 Edward and his brother the Duke of York disappeared from the Tower of London it was rumoured that Richard had slain the boys. This portrait, in which he appears to be placing a ring on the little finger of his right hand, has been seen by some as evidence of his cruel nature and by others as evidence of his humanity. Immortalised by Shakespeare as 'Crookback', scholars now believe that the emphasis put on what was probably only a slight bodily deformity was part of the negative propaganda arising from his reputation as a murderer.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D23064: King Richard III (based on same portrait)

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