It was announced earlier this week that the skeleton found under a Leicester parking lot last September is indeed that of short-ruling English king Richard III. Following this announcement, the University of Dundee’s Richard III Society revealed their own project — a facial reconstruction based on the bones that were found.
“It was a great privilege for us all in the Dundee team to work on this important investigation,” said Caroline Wilkinson, professor of Craniofacial Identification at the University of Dundee. “It has been enormously exciting to rebuild and visualize the face that could be Richard III, and this depiction may allow us to see the King in a different light.
“His facial structure was produced using a scientific approach, based on anatomical assessment and interpretation, and a 3D replication process known as stereolithography. The final head was painted and textured with glass eyes and a wig, using the portraits as reference, to create a realistic and regal appearance.”
Using this 3D replica, Janice Aitken, a lecturer at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, used her knowledge of portrait painting, and used historical and comteporary references to create the physical model of Richard III’s face. The finished model is younger and fuller of face than most depictions of the last Plantagenet, which show a man tired and worn down by war, or outright monstrous. Richard was only 33 when he died at the Battle of Bosworth, so perhaps his youthfulness shouldn’t be so surprising. The bones also revealed that the common assumption of Richard having a withered arm and gigantic hunchback were largely fabrications. Richard did have a slight scoliosis, but not enough to be very noticeable.
However, among some DNA experts, the conclusivity of this find remains under some doubt — the DNA profile of the Canadian man said to be a descendant of Richard is apparently a very common one.