Richard III battle of Bosworth painting brought out of hiding

An oil painting depicting Richard III's last stand at the battle of Bosworth has gone on display in Leicester.

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An oil painting depicting Richard III’s last stand at the battle of Bosworth has gone on display in Leicester.

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The Victorian painting, by Hinckley artist William Bass, shows the moment King Richard loses his crown in the clash on 22 August 1485. In it, he is surrounded by armoured warriors with weapons drawn.

The piece has this week gone on show at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, as part of a two-year loan from its owners.

The piece has not been seen in public for many years.

Artist William Bass, a descendant of the founder of the Bass Brewery, painted the picture in 1839. It is now owned by the Talbot family, a member of which married into the Bass family several generations ago.

New Walk Museum curator of fine art, Simon Lake, said: “This thrilling painting re-imagines for a 19th-century audience King Richard III fighting on horseback at Bosworth, with his crown falling in a terrifying press of bodies.

“The artist conveys the horror and confusion of battle, but also the courage of a king who is fighting for his kingdom and very survival.

“We’re delighted that the Talbot family has very generously agreed to this loan.”

Leicester city mayor, Peter Soulsby, said: “I look forward to seeing this striking painting on display, and I’m sure it will help bring to life for
visitors this fascinating moment in Leicestershire’s history.”

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The battle of Bosworth was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, was killed in the clash, and Henry VII became the first monarch of a new, Tudor dynasty.