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 ‘.
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.