Richard III – Loyaulté me lie # 15

Emblem and motto (2/2)

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took the white boar, a symbol of strength and bravery, as his emblem, when his brothers Edward IV had picked the white lion and George, Duke of Clarence, the black bull.

The blue boar was already one of the numerous animal emblems chosen by King Edward III, Richard’s great-great-grandfather, the last Plantagenet patriarch from the houses of York and Lancaster. Richard III kept this symbol, but the rules of heraldry meant he had to add his own colour. This is how he went from the azure boar (blue) to the silver boar (white).

Rumours also say that he picked the boar because of a play on words with Eboracum, the Latin name for the ancient Roman city that was to become York.

Whatever the reasons that informed Richard’s decision, the boar was a marvellously appropriate symbol: Richard was as courageous and strong-willed as this animal. Throughout his life, Richard was a valiant soldier and an unwavering leader.

The white boar was massively distributed as a badge at the time Richard was enthroned, in 1483.

Indeed, the War of the Roses was also a war of emblems: for propaganda purposes, Richard had had 13000 fustian badges made and distributed to his partisans. Other badges, made of precious metals, were given to dukes and notables: those of higher status, in acknowledgement of their support.

We used this emblem in a few places on the set design, but especially as part of the drawings that ornate Richard’s armour. Made of porcelain, this armour is hand-drawn and hand-painted by Stéphane Blanquet, sculpted by Christian Couty and fired with the help of Limoges’s Manufacture de Porcelaine.  

The armour is composed of: a whole bracer for the left arm, complete with vambrace, couter, rerebrace and spaulder. On the breast and torso: a breastplate and a plackart; and finally, on Richard’s right leg: a tasset, cuisses, a poleyn and a greave. We can see several of Richard III’s emblems on these: the white boar, the falcon with a virgin’s face holding a white rose, the sun in splendour and of course, the white rose of York.

The white rose, that we have drawn on the spaulder and the cuisses of the armour, was taken as an emblem in the 14th century by Edmund of Langley, First Duke of York, the youngest son of the House of Plantagenet. White symbolises light and characterises innocence, purity, joy and glory. During the so-called War of the Roses, the white rose of York was opposed to the red rose of Lancaster, whose ancestor was John of Gaunt, eldest son of Edmund of Langley. This 30-year long war was marked by Henry VII defeating Richard III, marrying Elizabeth of York and reunifying the two branches, thus creating the two-coloured rose of the Tudor dynasty.

Both the motto “Loyaulté me lie” and Richard III’s emblems have been highly significant in our creative process. We have used these symbols on elements of costume, props, set. More importantly, they guide Jean Lambert-wild and Élodie Bordas in their interpretation and performance. How to join together the white boar and the perfume of the rose? How to turn Richard’s face, in the moments where he is consumed by fury, into a boar’s head, constantly on the look out, ready to charge, mouth foaming, feet ready to attack, tusks facing out! A wild heart that speaks enraged, bloodied words, that would like to turn the throne into its den, but could at times lose its ferocity and become clumsy, knocked out by the delicate scent of a rose that can put him to sleep with one prick or kill him in one breath.

Thus, every day, HAY! We have to go on stage without a grudge, twanging to the cry of the hunters that are Lorenzo Malaguerra and Gerald Garutti. Because like any other boar, Richard must either force his way through, or die.


Un clown, alité, face à son propre reflet, face à un double féminin qui se métamorphose, lui renvoyant l’image de...