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DateLecture
09 March 2020The Scoliotic Knight: Reconstructing the Real Richard III
10 February 2020Discovering Macdonald Gill: Architect, Artist and Mapmaker
13 January 2020The Phoenicians: Ancient Seafarers of the Mediterranean
09 December 2019The Twelve Days of Christmas
11 November 2019Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals - 'Art in the Garden of God'
14 October 2019Adventures and Misadventures in Museums
09 September 2019Historic Graffiti - The Hidden Story of the Hopes, Fears and Desires of a Nation
13 May 2019The Hitler Émigrés:Their Impact on the British Artistic and Cultural Life
08 April 2019Foreigners in London 1520 - 1677: The Artists that changed the course of British History
11 March 2019The Country House Library
11 February 2019Basingstoke and its contribution to world culture
14 January 2019The Jewel in the Crown: Sir Edward Lutyens and the Building of the Viceregal Lodge
10 December 2018Giles: his life, times and cartoons
12 November 2018The Art of Stained Glass
08 October 2018The City of Kyoto and the Cult of Beauty
10 September 2018Conserving Paintings in Country Churches

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The Scoliotic Knight: Reconstructing the Real Richard III Tobias Capwell Monday 09 March 2020

The discovery of the grave of King Richard III in Leicester raised an army of new and fascinating questions.  The severe scoliosis exhibited by the skeleton revealed that the twisted physique of Shakespeare’s ‘Black Legend’ was based in fact.  How could a diminutive person, suffering from a significant spinal condition, have become a skilled practitioner of the knightly fighting arts?  How could he have worn armour and fought in three major battles?  What would his armour have looked like?  How might it have disguised the King’s condition, presenting him as a powerful warrior?  In the case of a king whose royal legitimacy was questioned by many people, how were the visual trappings of knightly kingship used to solidify his claim?  Here we encounter armour as an expressive art-form, designed to radiate messages, justifications, proof of the wearer’s right to rule as a king- a wielder of divine power on Earth.

 


Toby Capwell is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London and an internationally-acknowledged authority on Medieval and Renaissance weapons.  He is the author of numerous books on the subject of arms and armour including Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection (2011; Apollo Magazine Book of the Year 2012); The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630, ex. cat. (2012); Armour of the English Knight 1400 – 1450 (2015; Military History Monthly Illustrated Book of the Year 2017); ans most recently Arms and Armour of the Medieval Joust (2018). Toby also appears regularly on television, most recently on A Stitch in Time (2018; BBC4); as presenter and armour advisor on Richard III: The New Evidence (2014; C4), and as the writer and presenter of Metalworks: The Knight's Tale(2012; BBC4).  In 2015 Toby had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of King Richard III  from the battlefield at Bosworth to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral.

 

Image:  Painting by Graham Turner - Richard III at Bosworth