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Did Hastings really look like this….?

The following article is not about this version of More’s fiction, but is to highlight two illustrations from within its pages. However, I could not resist including the only review.

 More's richard III

The History of King Richard the Third: A Reading Edition

By Sir Thomas More, Saint.

Copyright 2005, George M. Logan. Indiana University Press.

The review is as follows:

comment more's richard iii

So that’s More summed up! Now, to the illustrations that have raised my interest. They apparently date from 1466-70, and comprise Figure 4 on page 59, Here they are, and following them in italics is the joint caption taken from the book.

Richard - tant le desiere

William, Lord Hastings

Fig. 4. From a collection of ink drawings, c.1466-70, of heraldic badges. (Badges were worn by followers, used to mark the ownership of moveable goods, etc.)

(1) Richard III: his white boar, with a motto he sometimes used, “tant le desiere” (“I have desired it so much”) – of indeterminate thrust, unlike his other motto, “Loyaulté me lie” (“Loyalty binds me”).

(2) William, Lord Hastings: presumably the face is his own; but Hastings is usually associated with other, more conventional devices.

By permission of the British Library: Additional MS. 40742, fols. 5, 11.

Well, Richard’s boar is suitably ferocious, and the motto is, presumably, appropriate for the years 1466-70. I cannot read what is written above the boar, no matter how I enlarge it. But  poor Hastings. If the caption-writer’s guess is correct, and the lion does indeed bear a resemblance to him…oh dear. The ‘forehead’ hair has a realistic feel, as if he really did wear it like that, but those enormous ears and that large, pointy nose? For Hastings’ sake, I trust this is more a caricature than an honest likeness.

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4 thoughts on “Did Hastings really look like this….?

  1. Does anyone else find it funny that the author of the illustration made sure to show that the lion was… anatomically correct? I don’t remember seeing that on many drawings of emblem animals.

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  2. viscountessw on said:

    I was studiously avoiding the subject, timetravelling bunny. It looks like a canon. Glad I’m not a lioness.

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  3. I just got my copy of John Ashdown-Hill’s “The Mythology of Richard III”, and while I won’t start reading it for some time since I have a couple of other books to finish first, the first time I usually do when I get a history book is to flip through and see the illustrations. One of them is a caricature of Hastings redrawn from some contemporary account of his execution, and it says it’s a caricature of him “in guise of a pig”. I’m not sure how much can be gleaned from it, since it’s pretty crudely drawn… it has a rather befuddled expression, the ears do look big, face wide and plump, but the nose, while wide, does not look hooked. Then again, it’s hard to say since it’s en face rather than half-profile like this one.

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  4. viscountessw on said:

    It may indicate that he wasn’t one of the world’s most gorgeous. Which could be another reason for Edward IV liking him – no competition when it came to the fair sex.

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