Richard III (broken sword) (1452-1485)
Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 ended the Plantagenet rule of England. Richard deformities were only ascribed to him after his death, and this later portrait depicts him with a disproportionately large and raised left shoulder and deformed left arm and hand. The broken blade signifies the king’s personal defeat in battle and the subjugation of the royal house of York. The Tudor’s claim to the throne was tenuous, and clearly the intention of this image was to portray Richard as the disfigured and defeated usurper of Tudor propaganda. In this, Richard wears a red gown with sleeves slashed to reveal a shirt of yellow fabric, probably representing woven gilded silk, decorated with a broken linear pattern. His brown jerkin is an addition to the original composition. Fictive shadows can be seen in the background of the portrait.