Richard III at the British Museum

Do you remember when they found a king in a parking space? In my head, whenever I read that it’s to the tune of Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ We Found Love, but that’s besides the point, the archaeologists didn’t find romance in an unexpected location but the did discover the remains of one of the most intriguing kings England has ever had; Richard III.

Now, as part of a touring display a recreation of the malformed monarch’s head is on display at the British Museum. As I find myself there quite a bit, I popped up to see him in the non-quite flesh (he’s in Room 40 if you’re passing by).

Richard III head at the British Museum
Richard III head at the British Museum

And here he is, a facial reconstruction of him at least. It was created by Prof. Caroline Wilkinson and forensic artists from the University of Dundee. It seems like we can’t get enough of recreating faces from the past at the moment, considering we’ve got this exhibition coming up at the Natural History Museum.

Face to Face

Richard III is notorious for his monstrous looks. Shakespeare uses them as a pretext for making him the eponymous villain in his play Richard III:

I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

Looking at him face to face, you can’t really see any telltale signs of ugliness or deformity. Is it possible that to make him a villain, Shakespeare made him a beast? Maybe, but remember we can only see Richard’s face here, his deformity was in his spine, which you can see clearly over at the University of Leicester’s site.

Touring Head

As I mentioned above; the reconstruction of Richard III’s head is going on tour all over the country – I was luck enough to catch him on his way through the British Museum, where he’ll stay until 16th March. After this he’s going to Gloucester until the end of March.

After that, he’s headed (has there ever been a more appropriate use of that word?) back to Leicester where he’ll go on permanent display in a new Visitors’ Centre.

Here’s another picture of the head to keep you going.

A reconstruction of Richard III's face
A reconstruction of Richard III’s face

(If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to see some badges from the British Museum, they are over at the Museum of Museum Badges – we even have a Richard III one!)



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