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A 19th century painting of King Richard III

The University of Leicester has acquired a 19th century painting of King Richard III on horseback outside the Blue Boar Inn in Leicester. It will go on public display later this month.

Richard III at the Blue Boar Inn - photo courtesy University of Leicester

The painting by John Fulleylove depicts King Richard astride a white horse resplendent with his coat of arms, arm held aloft wielding his sword. In the background is the magnificent Blue Boar Inn and the street is thronged with well-wishers. The Blue Boar Inn was the last place the English king stayed before the Battle of Bosworth  in 1485.

Made in 1880, the painting is oil on canvas and measures 97 x 90 cm. It was bought last year at auction for £7,300 by Dr Frank May, who is donating it to the university in appreciation for the archaeological work which resulted in the discovery of Richard III’s remains.

Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the university said, “I was delighted that the University of Leicester acquired this work of art thanks to the generosity of Dr May who has been a lifelong supporter of the University of Leicester.  A picture of Richard III at the Blue Boar Inn was a ‘must have’ for the University, especially as it was painted by a local artist, and is an accurate portrayal of the Inn and links to our world class research.  We are delighted to make the image available for the wider public to view.”

Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist in the University’s Dig for King Richard III, added,  “In my view, Fulleylove has really brought to life the departure of Richard III from the Blue Boar on the morning of 21 August 1485.  Although he could not have painted the inn from life, as the building had been demolished 40 years previously, Fulleylove based his picture on engravings by John Flower which are now known to be accurate representations of the building.  The picture also shows All Saint’s Church in the background and gives an impression of what the other buildings of Leicester’s medieval High Street may have looked like at this time.”

John Fulleylove was born in Leicester in 1845 and became a landscape artist and illustrator. He was well known in English art circles by the 1870s.  His painting of Richard III will  be unveiled to the public on Tuesday 21 January at 4.30pm in the Council Chamber Ante-Room, Fielding Johnson Building, University of Leicester. A copy of the painting will also be displayed at the new Richard III Visitor Centre.

The Blue Boar itself was constructed in the mid-15th century and was a large coaching inn, providing food, drink and accommodation for wealthy travellers. On his previous visits to Leicester, Richard had stayed in the Castle, but by 1485 that was starting to fall into disrepair.

In 1836 the Blue Boar was demolished and a new pub of the same name built 200 yards away on Southgate Street. The site of the original building is now, appropriately, a Travelodge.

Source: University of Leicester

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