Richard III 22nd March.2 Richard III 22nd March.1 Richard III 22nd March.5 Richard III 22nd March.4

Sunday 22nd March / Richard lll’s coffin emerges from Leicester University. The cortège visits the site of his demise, the village of Dodlington and Bosworth field .

On Thursday 26th March his remains are re interred at Leicester Cathedral.

Completely by chance the first person  I meet on the press podium at Leicester University is Simon Roberts, official artist of the 2010 general election He kindly offers me some useful advice and tells me about his experiences in the election ‘battlefield ‘.

Photographed sketching in Leicester by the 2010 Election Artist Simon Roberts. © Simon Roberts, 2015

Photographed sketching in Leicester by the 2010 Election Artist Simon Roberts. © Simon Roberts, 2015.

During the days events I follow the coffin of Richard lll around Leicestershire on foot and by car . At one point I find myself as part of the actual funeral cortège on the motorway . The cortège is easily located as a Channel 4 helicopter hovers above, tracking the remains of the last Plantagenet king.

Thousands of people line the narrow countryside lanes. I lean my sketchbook on a 5 bar gate to draw the private service taking place on a distant hillock  at Fenn Lane Farm,  supposedly the  spot where Richard lll met his end in battle.

There is a brief service and blessing in the village of Dadlington. I am particularly taken by the medieval church of St James the bell of which,  being the last sound King Richard lll would have heard, rings in a pall to transform what would appears to be a village fete into a more Solemn occasion .

There are characterful people to draw everywhere . Hanging from lamp posts , squashed together up steep grass verges and crammed up the steps of the tiny village hall which is is similarly crammed full of the fruits of a home baking extravaganza.

I spot a tiny face peering out from a skylight . They look like one of the tiny figures you’d see in a populous Canaletto drawing . I add the ‘micro-light ‘ airplane buzzing in the sky to my sketch .

Knights in armour on horse back clatter through the crowd . I have 4 or 5 seconds to draw them. I end up with a page filled mostly by the hefty rear ends of their steeds.

At the Bosworth Field service plenty of oddly hatted ‘Ricardians’ and re-enactment people make for good subject matter, as does the landscape of the battlefield itself .

At the re-interment service on Thursday I draw the Archbishop of Canterbury as he flies past and the  more static guard of honour whose job it is to stand guard over Richard lll’s new tomb . A church warden with dustpan and brush scuttles around the soldiers clearing up spilt ceremonial battlefield  soil.


Richard III in Leicester