In a time before photography and film, painted portraits of people were often the only way people would be able to recognise others within their social and political circles. Paintings of people would serve multiple purposes, from exhibiting wealth to forming alliances through marriage or political gift giving. Remember that then, as now, likenesses of people were open to adaptations intended to flatter the sitter. No contemporary portrait exists of Richard but there are copies of originals that were made from life.
Here is some information about portrait painting in the 15th century.
After the discovery of his skeleton, Richard’s face and head were remodelled from high-definition 3-D scans of his skull. Layers of ‘muscle’ and ‘skin’ were plotted back onto the skull based on average measurements of modern people over a number of years to create a 21st Century representation of the king.
Take one of the near contemporary portraits of Richard III and compare it with the facial reconstruction made in 2013. What similarities and differences can you see? Does this, in your opinion, make the painted portraits more or less convincing as likenesses of the king?
Make a drawing or paint a portrait of Richard
as King of England
make your own clay model of Richard’s head based on the University of Dundee’s model.