Art Conservation: The Battle of Bosworth Field

Published: 7 December 2021

The Battle of Bosworth Field, 1839 by William Bass

Credit line: On loan from the Talbot family

William Bass (1785 – 1864) - was descended from the Bass brewers family who earned so much money that William was able to indulge his passion of painting. He  lived in Hinckley and painted portraits, landscapes and miniatures. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy in London between 1807-1818.

When he died his wife held an exhibition / auction of all the works by him that she still held. See gallery for an image of auction catalogue. 

An ambitious work

The Battle of Bosworth Field is his most ambitious canvas and depicts the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 22nd August 1485. In the centre is King Richard III, mounted on a white charger losing his crown in battle amid a frenzy of mounted warriors, bowmen and soldiers. The painting is rich in detail, with numerous standards, including upper left in the painting, the ‘Talbot dog’ of Gilbert Talbot, a participant in the battle.

The painting is on loan from descendants of William Bass

The painting has recently undergone some conservation work to repair four small holes and clean the surface which has lifted the colours, revealing more details than could be seen before.

See these 'before' and 'after' photographs of the artwork:

The family are also lucky enough to have some of the working drawings done by Bass for this work which they have kindly given permission for us to show:

This work is on display at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, in the Victorian Art Gallery.

The Battle of Bosworth Field Gallery