(2 Oct. 1452 – 22 Aug. 1485) Art departs from life?
Buried (again) in March 2015, Richard III, dug up from a Leicester car park, was given a reverential cortege and buried in Leicester Cathedral. The Tudors would be spinning in their Westminster caskets. Despite the efforts of Horace Walpole, Josephine Tey, and the Society named after him, the infamous scoliotic usurper has received a rather bad press since those kids, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, ‘vanished’ from the Tower in 1483, and his death at Bosworth Field two years later.
Shakespeare’s play (1593), with due respect, is not a great play, writ by the Bard on an off day. Clarence is the best character but Gloucester, a panto villain, dominates. Richard Loncraine memorably filmed (1995) him as a fascist and this has prompted a spate of contemporary adaptations (TVC saw the Adelaide Theatre Guild’s production (August 2013) which looked like WWII), to little point or effect, but at least, causing little damage. By most accounts, Richard went down slugging like a true Plantagenet. He was trying to slice Henry Tudor up when surrounded and smitten. “The sun will not be seen today…But I am in So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin: Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.”