Edward IV and…Richard III….?


Edward IV (left) and Richard III (right)

I really can’t imagine why anyone would carve Richard III (above right) looking like this. To me it’s just a head. I can more accept the image on the left as being Edward IV. Both are figures on corbels at either end of the chancel arch in St Mary’s Church, Barnard Castle.

Richard was slender and skinny – in this carving he looks rather bulgy. I know the artist wasn’t a Leonardo da Vinci, but I have to wonder if it’s really meant to be Richard at all. After all, the image on the left does indeed look (to me) like Edward.

But it’s all in the eye of the beholder….

Anyway, to read much more about what’s going on at St Mary’s, which has received a £400,000 grant for repairs that will begin in April, go to this aticle


  1. Edward’s head is stylised, to my thinking; and Richard’s is more individual. When John Ashdown-Hill visited this church (on more than one occasion) he examined Richard’s head with binoculars and was clear in his own thinking that this showed the wavy hair and distinctive chin of Richard. The sculptor would have possibly seen Richard in person, whereas hd would not have seen Edward.

    The church’s renovation work of the clerestory windows that were put in during Richard’s lordship is still going on, with social distancing, at this time and will be completed by the end of June. The community engagement work which DigVentures are helping arrange and co-ordinate will take place as soon as life returns to normal, either late in 2020 or into 2021. This will include the new Richard III musical for older primary school children, which was originally due to be performed for the first time this June/July.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry Colyngbourne, but I can not agree with your opinion. While the head of Edward might not be naturealistic, it shows good craftmanship, while the alleged head of Richard is of such poor quality that it is impossible to take it for a real depiction of him. I think it was added later. Even the stone seems to be of a different quality. Surely I can see the wavy hair and a strong chin, but that is not enough to convince me. I used to think, that it was not finished, because the features are so rudely cut, but now I think that even finishing would not have made it anyy better.
      Maybe the original head got lost, or it was not yet made at the time Richard was killed, and someone, who did not care to make a decent sculpture of Richard’s head just filled the void with this inferior work.


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