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The sculptor who created Leicester’s iconic Richard III statue has passed away aged 90.

James Butler created the beloved bronze statue back in 1980. Although it now stands in Cathedral Square, it previously stood in Castle Gardens after being donated to the city by the King Richard III Society.

Picture: British Heritage Travel

In 2015 the statue was moved near Leicester Cathedral not far from where the remains of the King were buried and taken to their final resting place in the Cathedral.

In order to complete the piece, James made many visits to Bosworth and the battlefield and researched the armour in the Wallace Collection, ensuring it befitted the King, a formidable fighter, on horseback.

Mr Butler was also the sculpture behind the Leicester Seamstress, which was commissioned in 1990. It can be found in Hotel Street outside the City Rooms.

His many monuments and memorials stand in London and other UK cities and also abroad in Kenya, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, France, Singapore, Madeira and in the USA. His small and medium-size bronzes are in many private collections.

“I like the notion of spirit — spirit in the sense of active life, you are injecting some sort of living spirit into inert material, you inject into the objects you make a life of their own — the impression of a life outside your own”, he said of his craft.

Mr Butler, who passed away on March 26, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Years Honours.

He is survived by his wife Angie, son Tom and five daughters; Rosie, Saskia, Candida Kate and Aurelia.

To find out more about Mr Butler, visit:

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