The skeleton of a king – Mather & Co creates Richard III exhibition

Mather & Co has created a Richard III exhibition in Leicester, using images and evidence obtained just days ago when a skeleton found under a car-park was confirmed as being that of the last Plantagenet king of England.

Lord Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby, with the recreated skull of Richard III
Lord Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby, with the recreated skull of Richard III

Mather & Co was appointed to develop the exhibition shortly before Christmas, and had to incorporate new evidence about Richard III’s body as it emerged.

Harvey Gardiner, project director at Mather & Co, says, ‘We were working blind quite a lot, but even before the DNA confirmation there was a lot of circumstantial evidence.

‘However, we couldn’t get images of the bones until three days before the exhibition was due to open – they were still embargoed – so we had to leave quite a lot of spaces to fill.’

The centrepiece of the exhibition, which is at Leicester’s Guildhall, is a full-sized touchscreen image of Richard III’s skeleton. Visitors can use the interactive to explore the wounds suffered by Richard III, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The interactive skeleton of Richard III
The interactive image of Richard III’s skeleton

Gardiner says, ‘This is the exhibition’s “wow factor”. When we first powered up the skeleton in the evening, and came face to face with a king, it was pretty awe-inspiring.’

The exhibition also features an exact recreation of Richard III’s skull, as well as sections dealing with Richard III’s life and connections to Leicester, and a ‘CSI cold case-style’ section dealing with the research into his skeleton.

Gardiner says, ‘Normally an exhibition like this would take several months to develop, and this one was done in just four weeks.’

The Richard III: Leicester’s Search for a King exhibition was created for Leicester Arts & Museum Service and will be in place at Leicester’s Guildhall for 12 months.

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