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 http://www.theelectionproject.co.uk/about. 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. http://www.simoncroberts.com.

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.

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Richard III in Leicester

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