A 16th century portrait of Catholic King Richard III will go on display in Leicester, the city where he was buried in 2015.
The portrait of the former monarch, which measures around 25in by 18in, is to be displayed at the city’s New Walk Museum next summer, as part of a major new project launched by the National Portrait Gallery.
The initiative, called Coming Home, will see 50 portraits of famous individuals from the gallery’s collection travel across the country to the places they are most closely associated with.
The skeletal remains of Richard III, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, were discovered beneath a car park in Leicester in 2012. His remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral three years later.
Late last year, it was also announced that his former burial place – a medieval monastic site which now lies under a car park – had been granted protected status.
The Coming Home initiative will also see Sir Thomas Lawrence’s famous painting of the man who led Britain’s campaign to abolish slavery, William Wilberforce, exhibited in the former MP’s home city of Hull.
Lawrence’s unfinished portrait of Wilberforce was one of the first works acquired by the National Portrait Gallery when it was established in 1856. The work will go on display in the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull next year.
New Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright attended the launch of the initiative at the National Portrait Gallery in central London. “Every corner of the UK has well-known faces who have played a significant role in our nation’s history,” he said. “I am delighted that these famous figures will return home so that current generations can be inspired by their stories.
“We are determined to ensure that more of the UK can see some of our world-class art collections, and, with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery, Coming Home is an exciting first step in the right direction.”
Picture: A member of staff studies the portrait of Richard III at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The painting will be loaned to a gallery in Leicester as part of the ‘Coming Home’ project to lend beloved portraits to hometowns across the UK. (John Stillwell/PA).