Face of Richard III revealed for first time

Philippa Langley, originator of the 'Looking for Richard III' project, moves hair from the face of King Richard III. Picture: PA
Philippa Langley, originator of the 'Looking for Richard III' project, moves hair from the face of King Richard III. Picture: PA
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DUNDEE scientists created the facial reconstruction of Richard III following the discovery of his skeleton in a council car park.

The scientific reconstruction was created by experts at Dundee University, based on a CT scan of the remains which were found in an archaeological dig in September in the choir of the Grey Friars Church in the city.

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

The bust shows Richard, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, with a large chin and nose, thin lips and prominent cheekbones and one shoulder higher than the other - as suggested by his spinal curvature.

The reconstruction was scientifically created by Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at the University of Dundee, using a CT scan and later “humanised” by painting and adding features such as brows and lashes by Janice Aitken, a lecturer at the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

The discovery, one of the most dramatic archaeological finds in recent history, has been confirmed “beyond reasonable doubt” to be that of the king.

Ms Aitken said the reconstruction work began before it was confirmed that the remains were those of Richard and Prof Wilkinson worked reference to any of the contemporary portraits of Richard.

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

Sarah Levitt, head of arts and museums for Leicester City Council, said the reconstruction showed “superb craftsmanship” and will be on display at the King Richard III visitor centre when it opens next year in the city.

“Here was in front of me, Richard the man, the human being brought to life before my eyes, the flesh on those ochred bones from our Leicester City Council car park made red by the rich earth of Leicester over nearly half a millennium,” she said.

“This is the man, as he was before the pain of those awful last moments of his life, this is a living, breathing man before you.”

Richard III enthusiasts hailed the reconstruction as revealing a “more pleasant” looking Richard than those of contemporary portraits and “far removed” from the image of the cold-blooded villain portrayed by Shakespeare.

Dr Phil Stone, chairman of the Richard III Society, spoke of the “smears, innuendos and myths” suffered by Richard following his death

“This shows the face of a man who has lain for more than 500 years in a shallow grave in the Grey Friars Church and who is now known to be an anointed medieval king - the ‘king in the car park’ as he has become known,” he said.

The remains of Richard III will be reinterred early next year in a Christian-led ecumenical service at Leicester Cathedral.