Richard III emerges from history


London - The "face" of Richard III has emerged more than 500 years after his death at the hands of Henry Tudor's army, thanks to advanced computer scanning, wax modelling and some artistic licence.

The fleshy facial reconstruction, is based on the skull found under a car park in Leicester and was put together by Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at Dundee University, an expert in building up three-dimensional models based on bone structure.

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A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is displayed at a news conference.Michael Ibsen, a 17th generation nephew of King Richard III, poses with a facial reconstruction of King Richard III at a news conference in central London.A facial reconstruction of King Richard III. Picture: Andrew WinningA facial reconstruction of King Richard III.A mock soldier's helmet is displayed on the Bosworth Battlefield where it is thought King Richard III lost his life near Market Bosworth.

All known portraits of Richard III were painted after his death and do not show him in a flattering light, which suited the Tudor dynasty's portrayal of him as a great villain.

Professor Wilkinson made the model by digitising a three-dimensional image of the complete skull and using the bone structure to estimate the thickness of the layers of soft tissue which make up the face.

Many portraits of Richard showed him with narrowed eyes and one shoulder higher than the other, a deformity that was linked with malevolence.

"All the surviving portraits of him - even the very later ones with humped backs - facially are quite similar so it has always been assumed that they were based on a contemporary portrait," said historian and author John Ashdown-Hill. - The Independent

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