London’s National Portrait Gallery Finds Relics of English King Richard II in Its Basement


LONDON.- An archivist at the National Portrait Gallery has found relics from the tomb of King Richard II while cataloguing the papers of its first Director Sir George Scharf (1820-1895). Among the hundreds of diaries and notebooks left behind in boxes not opened for years were contents from the coffin of a medieval English king, and sketches of his skull and bones. The contents of a cigarette box dated 31 August 1871 were only identified as relics from a royal tomb following cataloguing, when it became possible to cross-reference the date on the front of the box with diary entries and sketches made on the same day. The box contained fragments of wood, possibly from the coffin itself, and some fabric. Records from this date reveal that Scharf was present at an opening of the royal graves at Westminster Abbey. A piece of leather corresponds particularly with Scharf’s sketch of a glove contained in the coffin. A full account of the event was recorded by the Very Reverend Arthu