The gilt-bronze tomb effigy of King Richard II in Westminster Abbey. The effigy was made after his queen, Queen Anne of Bohemia, died in 1395 by Nicholas Broker and Godfrey Prest. It is thought to be a live-like portrait of the King, as it resembles his remaining portraits. 

The effigies in the tomb of Anne and Richard had joined hands, as symbol of ever-lasting love. Both wore crowns and hold scepters in their left hands. Their tomb was surronded by angels, holding the sigils and heraldry of both, including their ancestry. Their feet laid on beasts, their heads in gilded cushions. Their robes are decorated with their personal sigils, like white harts (Richard’s) and chained ostriches (Anne’s), even if much detail has been lost during the centuries.

Unfortunately, as it happened with nearly all medieval tombs in Westminster, those magnificent decorations were ripped off during the troubled times of the English Civil War.

Richard and his wife (most of her bones were extracted through a hole in a last act of banditry) lack arms, scepter, crowns, heraldry and even the cushions. But it was worse with Henry V who lost his silver head and hands. Edward III only lost his scepter, and many of his children’s gilded statues that decorated the pedestal, only remaining some, as Edward the Black Prince’s.

In the images you can see the damaged gilt-bronze surface, with the many holes left by those who riped the angels, saints and beasts that decorated the tomb. In the fourth one, in the foreground, Richard’s tomb. In the far-right, Edward’s III, his grandfather. And where is Richard’s father sepulchre?

The tomb of Edward the Black Prince, father to Richard II, son of Edward III, is in Canterbury, undamaged and in nearly pristine conditions (see the last two pictures). In fact his gilded effigy is so well-preserved that has given much needed detail and insight about how were the armours during his lifetime!

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