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COMING HOME: King Richard III

Past national programme archive
8 June - 22 September 2019

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester

King Richard III
by Unknown artist
late 16th century
NPG 148

Richard III (1452 – 1485) was King of England, from 1483 until his death two years later during the Battle of Bosworth, at the hands of Henry Tudor’s supporters. Richard’s posthumous reputation was shaped by the Tudors, first by Sir Thomas More and then by William Shakespeare’s iconic characterisation of the him - as a devious ruler and manipulator of human weakness in his quest for power. Several scholars and supporters have subsequently tried to rehabilitate his reputation. 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.

In 2012, Richard III’s remains were famously discovered beneath a Leicester carpark, during an archaeological excavation. He was reburied in Leicester Cathedral in 2015. Working in partnership with the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester Cathedral, this particularly fine example of the standard portrait of Richard III forms the centrepiece of an exhibition exploring the story of the King, the discovery of his remains and what these reveal about his life and death.

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