Tag Archives: Leicester University

More thoughts on a face from out of the past.

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I’ve found myself looking at screencaps of the reconstruction of RIII’s face yet again tonight. I’m drawn to it, as I am to the whole archaeological project known as “The King under the car park.”

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Richard III Society member Philippa Langley, originator of the search, said on a Channel 4 documentary earlier: “It doesn’t look like the face of a tyrant. I’m sorry but it doesn’t.

“He’s very handsome. It’s like you could just talk to him, have a conversation with him right now.”  A quote from the BBC website

I have to agree with Philippa. Looks can be deceiving, of course, but even in the portraits of the day, which might or might not have been accurate, I never got the sense of the pantomime villain presented to us so often.  History, it is said, is written by the victors; the losers often get the very short end of the stick.

I’ve always loved history. To see it come to life in the way it has with these recent developments, to hear all the details of these bones, to imagine in my mind those bones transforming into the flesh and blood man, an anointed king, a valiant warrior, brutally killed and then disrespected in death . . . I felt a sense of awe mingled with sadness.

We cannot change the past and the ignominious way Richard Plantagenet was treated in death.

But something can be done to rectify the image molded by Shakespeare and other writers of Richard III as an ugly hunchback with a withered arm and a dark, poisonous heart, a villainous murderer with no redeeming qualities.

Richard Plantagenet was a human being and certainly not perfect, but many signs point to him being a much more sympathetic (and far better-looking) individual and a better king than history and literature have painted him.

That’s why I am so psyched at the notion of Richard III’s story being told on screen. Even if Richard Armitage is unable for whatever reason to play a part in its coming to fruition, I dearly hope it happens.

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Richard III Society member and RIII screenwriter Philippa Langley at the site of the excavation. Courtesy of examiner.com.

I have a lot of admiration for Philippa Langley and her dogged determination to find the King and to see his tale told properly. I appreciate all those who supported and participated in this dig and the dedicated researchers whose efforts established beyond a reasonable doubt the identity of the bones.  What an amazing odyssey!

Here’s a link to the live Q&A held earlier today by Channel 4 with Philippa and Professor Lin Foxhall of the University of Leicester. There’s some interesting queries and responses if you haven’t seen it yet:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/richard-iii-the-king-in-the-car-park/articles/live-qa-with-philippa-langley-and-lin-foxhall

And just for fun, this bit of art that’s been making the rounds on the Net:

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And a glimpse of Guy, looking rather Richard III-like:

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Counting sheep or counting Lucases?

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My eyes are playing up on me again so here I am, wearing my reading glasses on top of my battered old bifocals. Looks ridiculous but hey, it works! 😉

I just put in more allergy drops and took some Aleve earlier for a nagging headache. Watching a late night re-broadcast of Inspector Lewis Mysteries I must have missed on the first go-round on PBS and trying to wind down.  All the sleep I got was during the day (one of those nights I couldn’t rest if my life had depended on it) and hoping for better results tonight.

I have to confess I am feeling excited about the announcement from the University of Leicester re Richard III and possible comments to come from RA regarding it.  When I am eagerly anticipating something it makes resting even more difficult. My body gets tired, but my brain refuses to let go.  Lots of thoughts whirling through my mind . . .

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Yes, I even wear out my sheep some nights, poor things.  I bet Lucas can relate, although the thoughts that crowd my mind are likely of a more pleasant quality than his . . .

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Now, if I can fall asleep and have some of the vivid dreams I have had in recent months, perhaps it could feature something like this:

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I could live with that. Yeah, works for me.

Travels with Richard Armitage: Let’s start in Leicestershire

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Daniel Lambert (1770-1809), oil on canvas, art...

University of Leicester

University of Leicester (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Lambert, who holds the title of England’s fattest man,
hailed from Leicester. Lambert weighed in at 52 stone.

(Photo of young Armitage courtesy of RANet, map courtesy of http://www.beautifulpicturesofengland.com, all other images Wikipedia)

Leicester Priory Memorial window

Richard III in action at the Battle of Boswort...

Richard III in action at the Battle of Bosworth Field. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently received a post from the Anglotopia website, indicating that their sister site Londontopia was giving away two copies of Christopher Winn’s newest book, I Never Knew That About London. I signed up, of course, as I never turn down the opportunity to obtain a free read that sounds interesting. So I went and investigated more of Mr. Winn’s books at amazon.com.

The lad from Leicestershire with the very wide mouth he would get to put to good use one day as a bellowing Sir Guy.

Turns out he has a whole series of books filled with fun, fascinating and often little-known facts about various parts of the United Kingdom. I am a sucker for trivia about places that intrigue me. I found his I Never Knew That About England for a cheap price through the Amazon Marketplace and bought it.

Last night I enjoyed browsing through it and an idea came to me today as we rode to town earlier this afternoon.
Why not visit the places, via blog posts, from whence RA’s ChaRActers hail and share some of the trivia Mr. Winn has collected about each one?
To kick things off, let’s visit Leicestershire, where our lad himself grew up, shall we?

Leicestershire is called the Heart of England, a perfect place for the TDHBEW who stole our hearts to claim as home.

Genetic fingerprinting was first discovered at Leicester University in 1985 and the Leicestershire Constabulary was the first police department to use genetic fingerprints in the criminal prosecution of Colin Pitchfork. He became the first murderer in the world to be convicted on the basis of genetic fingerprinting.

Did you know Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man, was born in Leicester, as was England’s Fattest Man? Daniel Lambert, born in 1770,  weighed 52 stone and had a waist circumference of 9 feet 4 inches when he passed away at age 36. I believe that is 728 pounds . . . Mr. Lambert was so fat, he couldn’t sink, and could often be seen floating down the River Soar with some of the local children riding on his stomach. That had to be both an interesting sight and experience!

Familiar with Cook’s Tours? Thomas Cook actually put together the first package tour back in 1841 from Leicester to a temperance meeting in Loughborough.

Richard III, the king whom Richard Armitage dreams of bringing to life on the screen, spent the night before the fateful Battle of Bosworth Field at the Blue Boar Inn in Leicester. As he rode out to battle, his spur got caught on a stone whilst crossing Bow Bridge, and an old woman predicted the king would soon have his lifeless head dashed against the same stones. His body was, in fact, dragged back over the parapet where it hung for two days before burial at Greyfriars Church.

(Oh, Richard–another role where your character comes to a terrible end. But it’s your dream . . . and I want it to come true for you.)

Elsewhere in lovely Leicestershire, a definite Guy of Gisborne-ish connection: Ashby-De-La-Zouche was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe as the place where Richard the Lion-Hearted, disguised as the Black Knight, jousts with Ivanhoe and Robin Hood wins the archery competition.

John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, was the Rector of Lutterworth in the southern part of the county. Joseph Hansom invented the hansom cab at his workshop in Hinckley in 1835. The Luddite Movement was born in Ainsley, near Leicester, in 1811. Little Dalby is the birthplace of Stilton cheese; Market Harborough is the home of the largest battery maker in the world. And the best thing to come out of Leicestershire? Richard Armitage, of course.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia