The Richard III Society debuted a model of King Richard III's face the morning of Feb. 5, 2013. Using methods more often known from criminology, the suddenly-famous history group arranged for the king's skull to be brought back to life. The result, combining historical images, science and high-tech plastic, is startling.
No original images of Richard III exist, though historic portraits are so similar to one another that it's generally been considered they were copied from a now-lost contemporary original. The result is a “surprisingly handsome” (presumably, as compared the contemporary accounts of the "hunchbacked king" with a withered arm) man with a prominent chin and arched nose.
The Independent reported that the process of reconstruction involved 3-D modeling in a process called stereolithography. According to the Guardian, Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification, initially worked blind on the model, then the details were added by Janice Aitken of the Art College. Portraits of Richard III were referenced for hair and eye color, and the model received glass eyes and a wig.
The King Richard model is expected to go on display in future. According to the BBC, historian and author John Ashdown-Hill commented at the unveiling that it was “almost like being face-to-face with a real person.” Michael Ibsen, one of two sources of the definitive DNA, also posed next to the “king's head” for comparison. The eye shape is similar, but not much else. Pictures of King Richard's facial reconstruction are included here.