Shedding light on the death of a king
A new exhibition about the discovery of the body of Richard III under a Leicester car park has been put together by a Kibworth man’s firm.
Harvey Gardiner is the project designer for Maher & Co, which designed and created ‘Richard III: Leicester’s Search for a King’ - the exhibition telling the ongoing story of the project to discover and identify the king’s remains.
The new exhibition at Leicester’s medieval Guildhall opened last Friday - just days after a skeleton found under the city’s Greyfriars car park was officially confirmed as that of the last Plantagenet King of England.
Mr Gardiner, who also had a hand in the recent restoration project at York Minster, said: “The initial skeleton discovery and the subsequent confirmation of its identity have put Leicester and its heritage in the worldwide media spotlight. It has been a great privilege for our design team to be involved in this project which provides a very prompt local response to a hugely important international story.”
Mather & Co were awarded the contract to work with Leicester City Council’s team of experts on the project before Christmas.
They had just four weeks to design, construct and install the exhibition, and had to take into account new evidence as it was emerged.
The finished project brings together new evidence from historians, archaeologists and the results of DNA bone analysis and carbon dating.
Visitors are able to see an exact recreation of King Richard’s battle-scarred skull, based on detailed scans by the University of Leicester, together with an interactive skeleton centrepiece.
There are also vivid reconstructions, touch-screen technology and a wealth of archaeological finds and evidence bringing to life medieval Leicester and King Richard’s final days.
Mr Gardiner said: “It has been a tremendous effort by everyone involved to turn round such a high quality and meaningful exhibition in such a short time but also an enormous thrill, for instance when we powered up the skeleton image for the first time late one night and realised we were staring straight into the face of the king.”
Laura Hadland, senior curator at Leicester Arts & Museum Service said: “This exhibition is aimed at answering all the questions the public might have about the discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton. I’m incredibly pleased that we have been able to produce an extremely high standard of interpretation in response to the University of Leicester’s findings within such a short time frame.”
Factfile: The return of the king
Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, after just two years in power.
He was buried under the church of Greyfriars in Leicester but the church was later demolished and its exact location forgotten.
His remains were found after an excavation last August.
They were confirmed as belonging to Richard III after a DNA match with a descendant of Richard’s sister. He is likely to have been killed by one of two fatal injuries to the skull - one from a sword and one from a pole-type weapon called a halberd. Evidence of his infamous ‘hunchback’ was also confirmed.
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