Past national and international programme archive
9 July - 31 October 2021

Yorkshire Museum, York

This iconic portrait is the most well-known depiction of Richard III. It stands as the ultimate symbol of his life and legacy.

All known paintings of Richard were completed after
his death, with this example most likely deriving from a lost portrait made during the king’s lifetime. Painted in oils on an oak panel in the late sixteenth century, this work would probably have been displayed as one of a set of royal portraits in a home of the nobility.

Dressed in all his finery, draped in velvets, furs and gold silks and wearing a collar studded with pearls and rubies, Richard is immediately recognisable as king.

Realistic, individualised portraits were a new thing in England in the late medieval period and their subjects were restricted to royalty. Few of the population would have known this image of their king. The ordinary people of Yorkshire would have been unusual in finding Richard’s face recognisable.

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