Richard III’s ‘Broken Sword’ portrait….
There is one portrait of Richard that is not seen very often, perhaps because it is not straightforward…or well painted. For instance, why the broken sword? As a symbol of his defeat and broken monarchy? It is also rather dark and presumably in need of a good clean, presents him with a malformed left hand, the usual ridiculously unbalanced shoulders, andis generally unsatisfactory. Especially to a Ricardian! But there is something about it that might well be the real Richard. So, needless to say, I have had to have a go at it.
I have tried my best, but the original paintwork is in terrible condition, making it very difficult for an amateur to rectify the cracks and crazing on his face without making him look as if he’s been Max-Factored. As well as that, I could only find one relatively large file of it on the internet. Almost all copies are smallish and therefore awkward to work with.
But here is what I’ve come up with. The broken sword and angled arm has gone, the slashing of his coat has been twiddled, his deformed hand has been tweaked, and his shoulders aren’t like a roller-coaster. In fact, the only way I was able to see anything clearly was by brightening the portrait to show up any light or dark silhouette. His head was particularly strange, being rather narrow at the top, with the hat accordingly narrow as well.
One again, I don’t pretend to have done a professional job, I have just tried to find Richard in there somewhere.
Note: I’m sorry that when my effort is first enlarged, the picture breaks up a little. I don’t know why. But if you enlarge again, it becomes clear again. Well, as clear as I could get it.