Juxtaposing noses (and other body parts)

fitzg remarked some time ago that Mr. Armitage should be reconciled with his nose given his interest in Richard III. Indeed, we can affirm this proposal. I thus thought it would be worthwhile to look at the proboscuses of the two Richards:

This is the earliest surviving portrait of Richard III Plantagenet; it is early 16th c. and is thought to be a copy of a portrait made in his lifetime. It is now owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London:


I thought there was some similarity about the eyes and facial expression here to John Porter (here shown in a portrait stolen from early coverage of the series on RichardArmitageOnline:

Another sixteenth-century portrait, now in the possession of London’s National Portrait Gallery, depicts Richard Plantagenet thus:

I think this picture shows some similarities to Mr. Armitage as Lucas North, as here:

source: Richard Armitage Fan Blog; BBC.

We see the thin lips and narrow eyes, along with the prominent nose and jutting jaw. And we know all about Mr. Armitage’s delicate fingers from Spooks 7.2, during the scene when he tries to remember the information on Malcolm’s computer screen. The one problem I see is that traditional audiences expect to see Richard III portrayed as a hunchback. This myth has been effectively challenged, but it is still part of the popular picture.

It just occurred to me that I’d love to see Mr. Armitage as well in that poignant framestory for Richard III, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. Perhaps he could use it as a warmup. It would certainly warm a lot of us up!

~ by Servetus on March 25, 2010.

17 Responses to “Juxtaposing noses (and other body parts)”

  1. Thank you for posting these excellent Richard III portraits. The 2nd one was, I seem to recall, the one on which Josephine Tey’s detective based his analysis of Richard. (Tey, The Daughter of Time).

    I took some Plantagenets from the internet, but the scanner is unequal to producing a reasonable jpeg – a drawing of Henry III from his tomb, the equestrian statue of the Lion Heart outside the Houses of Parliament in London, and also Richard I from his effigy in the Abbey of Fontrevault. Google Norman or Plantagenet kings and photos….


  2. this is funny, I happened upon the second RIII picture a few days ago while making “paper-doll” roles for RA and was .. astounded. He should definitely follow his dream and get his wish to play RIII – never mind the hunchback, or the fact that he himself thinks he’s too old and tall for the role.. it would be a mighty fine feather in his cap and a fantastic opportunity to prove that he’s not just MI5’s pretty boy 😀


  3. @teena: Completely agree with you!
    Too old, too tall, and not hunchbacked?!? – isn’t that what’s called ACTING? Which is what Mr. A does… Hang the hunch!


  4. The interesting thing about portrayals of Richard III in film is that he’s usually played by an older actor – even though he held the throne in his early 30s. Like the hunchback, it’s another aspect of RIII’s popular image that has possibly been distored on screen.


  5. Of course, Mr. Armitage does have one thing on his head that Richard III seems to have lacked: ears.


  6. ears.. how horrible! surely that can be remedied 😀
    Of course he will always be compared to some of the (older 🙂 greats who have portrayed Richard III – but I reckon he’d be up there with the best of them
    The more I think about it the more I want him to get that role… not that I mind him running around saving journalists (or the day) but given the choice I’d take acting over action any day.


  7. @Teena, I feel exactly the same way. He should do what he wants. But if I get a vote, he should play really fleshed-out characters as opposed to action heroes.

    Anyone who continues to be interested in this question needs to go here http://yimum.blogspot.com/2010/03/dress-up-friday.html to TeeTotallyNot, who has combined Mr. Armitage’s visage into RIIIs portrait. It’s stunning. TeeTotally not also has proposed Mr. Armitage for the role of Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, another of my favorite period pics.


  8. @TeeTotallyNot: those paper dolls are brilliant! Favourite is Richard III.

    As a corollary to servetus’ “Microexpressions”, which, I think, included some focus on hands; have been thinking about body language in general. Striking image of Gisbourne was always that on horseback. Back ramrod, chin in air (note I did not say “nose”-giggle). Stiff stance oft-repeated as JT. Relaxed (slouchy?) as Harry? Challenge of interacting with approx. 5′ partner, when one is 6′ 2″) First-hand knowledge – I’m 5′, and once had a 6′ 4″ boyfriend…

    Only question is: why the cello? Why not the double bass? How many people are big enough to manage a double bass?


  9. Whoa, they’re eerily similar! Of course, no-one can ever compare to our lovely Richard, but still…:D the eyes and fingers are especially similar. I bet Mr. and Mrs. Armitage weren’t quite expecting their baby boy to actually somewhat resemble the one they named him after, lol!


  10. @Lady Gis, that is so funny! John and Margaret probably weren’t expecting a boy that tall, either. Unless tall people with good noses run in the family….

    Fanstravaganza week of Aug. 22?

    @servetus- sorry, we’ve really wandered off the topic. Put it down to 2nd (or third?) coldest capital city weather temp. hitting 24 degrees today. What’s that in fahrenheit? We’re giddy up here….


  11. Thahks for posting these pictures for comparison. They only serve to reinforce the similarities. The earlier picture is widely believed to be the most accurate, and, since it has been cleaned up, the other obvious features are the blue eyes and dark brown hair! I also believe that RA’s height and age are irrelevant, and should not act as a barrier to him playing the role himself. Given that the project seems to be closer to becoming a reality, I think it would be a great shame if he did not play the part himself.


  12. As others have quite rightly pointed out, Richard III has invariably been played by actors who were considerably older than he was ( and Richard Armitage too as it happens!). If you look at the portrait from the National Gallery,I think that he looks rather careworn, and older than his years – therefore I cannot see why RA thinks that he is too old at 38 to play the part. I also think that programme producers do not worry too much about who is cast in roles. For instance- in the recent dramas about Henry VIII, this man, who was 6′ tall has been portrayed by Ray Winstone and Johnathan Rhys-Meyers- neither of whom are anywhere near that tall. Similarly- if you want an example of somebody taller than the subject he portrayed – what better example than Peter O’ Toole (6’3″) as Lawrence of Arabia (5’5″)?


  13. Very true servetus!


  14. […] [I know some people are probably worried that actual agitation is going on here — don't worry, it's not. Who's got time for more work? I may be praying, but I'm not flooding his agent with post and neither is anyone else involved in this. I mainly thought that if I could give him something for his birthday besides a contribution to his charities and a month of promoting them, something he's also said repeatedly that he wants, it would definitely be the fruition of this long-planned project. Obviously I can't provide that. My contributions to King Richard Armitage Week are thus going to be mostly jokes; the heavy historical hitting is going on elsewhere (see contributors' page above). And to give this all an especially lame start, since I also have to start teaching this week, post number one is going to be my first ever repost of older material. The post below, entitled "Juxtaposing noses (and other body parts) originally appeared on March 25, 2011.] […]


  15. […] We’ve talked about this before, but it’s kind of uncanny. Via FB’s Anything Ricardian, a photo of the forensic facial reconstruction of King Richard III. Almost makes you wonder …. […]


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