Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Richard and the Silver Boar

Like every other history buff the world over, I watched the Channel 4 programme on Richard last night. While I was fascinated, I was also irritated by the chopping and changing deemed necessary by the programme makers! Just as we got to some interesting bit, then the story would revert back to how Phillipa felt as she stood over the R painted on  the tarmac of the car-park, or the frizzy haired presenter would warble on about what he thought, or Laurence Olivier's dreadful performance as the king would declaim a few choice words from the Shakespeare play. Which reminds me - no one ever explained the significance of the R on the tarmac. Who put it there, and why? (Reading newspaper reports today, I gather it meant Reserved space and had nothing to do with the fact that Richard was buried beneath it.)

I wanted more detail on the bones and what they told us, so I'll have to wait for the scholarly write up. What about his diet? Did they  investigate his teeth so they could us where he passed his childhood, why were so many of his teeth missing; were they lost in the burial, knocked out at the point of death, or generally lost sometime in life? One sentence said he had an upper class diet with plenty of fish and meat. There must be more than that to come.

Facial reconstructions have been done before, by the same Dundee University team, and I have held the sneaking thought that they all looked rather alike. I think what I see as a likeness is given by the plastic used in the method of creating the facsimile head. This one was passably close to the portraits of Richard, which was pleasing, and made him look very young, even for thirty-two. This is a link  here to the Richard III Society for anyone who wants more background, or to try and understand the reason for all the fuss. I'll be popping back myself, as well as waiting for the scholarly reports. It will be interesting to see if any other university undertakes comparitive tests, and if their conclusions agree with those of Leicester. And I do wish they'd decide to bury him at York Minster; after all, he was the Lord of the North and lived a good part of his life in Yorkshire.

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