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Panel Painting Richard III (arched)

Object number
LDSAL321
Artist/Designer/Maker
Unknown artist
Production date
Post 1510
Material
Oak
Oil Paint
Technique
Oil on panel
Dimensions
height: 320mm
width: 205mm
Location
Burlington House - (on display)
    This portrait, and its companion, Edward IV (arched) LDSAL320, are painted on panels cut from the same vertical board taken from an oak tree felled after 1510, probably in the eastern Baltic region of Europe.

    This painting of Richard III is probably the earliest surviving version of a lost prototype made in his lifetime. It is the companion to the Society's arch-topped painting of Richard's brother, Edward IV. The two portraits were no doubt intended for display as a pair, hence the similarity of their fur-lined cloth of gold gowns. Richard wears his gown of woven gilded silk over a red velvet tunic, over which is worn an ornate collar composed of delicately folded ornamental acanthus leaves.

    A portrait of Richard III, together with one of Edward, might well have been commissioned soon after his accession to the throne in June 1483, or during the months between his wife's death in March 1485 and his own death at the Battle of Bosworth in August of the same year. Uniquely in this portrait, he toys with the ring on the third finger of his left hand, the wedding finger, possibly as a sign of his readiness for a second marriage, having been left without an heir in 1484 by the loss of Edward, his only legitimate child.