Richard III’s face recreated from Leicester skull

<> on February 5, 2013 in London, England.

A facial reconstruction of the skull which was yesterday confirmed “beyond reasonable doubt” as being that of Richard III may offer new insights into the Plantagenet king’s physical appearance, according to experts.


The bust, which was commissioned by the Richard III Society and unveiled at the Society of Antiquaries in London, was created by Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at Dundee University, using detailed scans of the skull. These were used to make a digital image which was then replicated in plastic, with Janice Aitken, of the university’s art college, referring to images of the king to add paint, prosthetic eyes and clothing.

The reconstruction, which features an arched nose and thin lips, is particularly valuable as there are no surviving contemporary portraits of the king. The model is set to go on display to the public at some point in the future, although no further details have yet been released.

Historian and author John Ashdown-Hill said: “I had said previously that when I stood by the grave in Leicester that I felt closer to Richard III than I had ever been, but when I saw the facial reconstruction I realised I had been close to a dead Richard III. It was just bones, just a body, whereas confronting a facial reconstruction, I felt almost in the presence of a living Richard III”.


Image credit: The Richard III Society