Now I have to start by saying that, as a born and bred Lancastrian, my choice of anti-hero is somewhat odd. I've chosen King Richard the Third of the House of York. For those who don't know, Lancaster and York were (and indeed are) rivals. This rivalry came to a head in a little disagreement back in the 15th Century which became known as the Wars of the Roses. The red rose of Lancaster was finally triumphant at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, where King Richard was killed. His body was buried in the grounds of Greyfriars Priory where it lay largely forgotten for more than 500 years.
Why is he an anti-hero? Well, you can blame William Shakespeare. Writing under a Tudor monarch, he followed the time-honoured tradition of flattering ones patrons whilst also rubbishing their opponents. Shakespeare's Richard is a venal, scheming, murderous villain, whose physical disabilities are a mirror of his twisted morals. The reality is, of course, somewhat different. Richard's reign actually saw a man who did what he thought was best for the stability of his country. That said, I was lucky enough to have front row seats for a performance last year with the fantastic Martin Freeman as Richard III, the first two rows were given old shirts to wear, as the final scenes saw a large amount of blood spurting across the stage!
In 2011, archaeologists started digging in the Council car park looking for the grave. A skeleton with severe spinal curvature was discovered, and, following DNA tests from Richard's descendents, was identified as the last Plantagenet monarch.
I also have a personal reason for choosing Richard (apart from sharing his name). My mother, whose family came from Sheffield in Yorkshire, suffered from scoliosis as did Richard. She felt a sense of empathy with him, and followed the story of his discovery with great interest. She told me that she wanted to send a white rose to the site of his re-burial (she also felt it should be York Minster rather than Leicester Cathedral). Sadly, she's not able to do so, but I will fulfill her wish and send a tribute.
The figure is a wonderful casting by Perry Miniatures, and was a pleasure to paint. I'm eternally grateful that he isn't depicted in full heraldic splendour, as my painting skills (and eyesight) just wouldn't be up to it!