The jaw is set more squarely than in the familiar and anonymous“red portrait” of Richard III, but given that this version has been rendered entirely in Lego bricks, the artistic licence is understandable.
More than 96,000 of the children’s building blocks, in 12 different colours, went into the making of the 16x13ft mural at the visitor centre opened in honour of the last Yorkist king, opposite Leicester Cathedral.
The centre stands next to the car park under which Richard’s remains were found. The site is visible through a glass floor there.
The Lego portrait was commissioned as a community project for the Easter weekend, with visitors invited to help place the bricks on a computer-enhanced version of the National Portrait Gallery’s original.
“It’s actually very clever when you look at it close up,” said Emma Lay, the centre’s marketing manager. “You can really appreciate the tone of the original work. It’s quite fascinating, really.”
The creators used a system of colour coding to make sure each brick went in its allotted space, and compiled the finished work by piecing together a series of smaller components.
However, the mosaic will now suffer a similar fate to that of Richard himself – abandoned to convenience and discarded.
“It’s actually being dismantled, which is a bit sad because even though we’ve only had it completed for a short space of time, we really love it,” Ms Lay said.
“But it’s just so big that we wouldn’t have anywhere to display it.
“So the bricks will be taken off and turned into something else for another project elsewhere.”
Richard was killed fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, towards the end of the Wars of the Roses. His remains are now in the cathedral across the road from the Lego mosaic – although members of the Plantagenet Alliance campaigned for his battle-scarred bones to be laid to rest at York Minster, which, they claimed, would have been his wish.
Leicester Council commissioned the visitor centre in 2014, following confirmation of his reburial there.