United Kingdom

Design project shows what famous historical figures would have looked like today

A graphic designer has illustrated what she believes famous historical figures would have looked like if they were alive today in a remarkable series of images. 

Becca Saladin, 29, from Dallas, Texas, started working on the project back in February 2019, and has seen it quickly grow in popularity.

Sharing the original portraits along with the modern interpretations to her Instagram account, @royalty_now_, Becca now has more than 31,000 followers. 

Each post is inundated with thousands of likes, with modern depictions of Mona Lisa, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra all proving to be fan favourites.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Becca, who creates the images through photo editing and digital painting techniques, said: 'The reaction happened very quickly and it's been very exciting!

Graphic designer Becca Saladin, 29, from Dallas, Texas, creates modern interpretations of historical figures. Pictured: Anne Boleyn in the 16th century, seen left, and the former Queen of England in an adapted portrait, right

Mona Lisa's iconic portrait, pictured left, and right, the young woman captured as how she would look like today, according to Becca

A portrait of Henry VIII in the 16th century, compared to his modern day portrait, which was created by the Dallas-based graphic designer

'The most rewarding part is when someone reaches out to me and says they've used a piece in the classroom to make history come alive for students.

'A lot of people reach out just to say how interesting they find it and how it makes history feel closer to them, which is exactly my goal.

She explained: 'My purpose really is to keep people's passion for history alive and show them that humans from the past faced the same struggles and triumphs we do today.'

A bust by 16th century artist Andrea Ferrucci depicting Roman dictator Julius Caesar, pictured left, and Becca's modern-day interpretation of the military general, right

A picture of Abraham Lincoln capturing the American President in the 19th century, seen left, and Becca's depiction of what the former lawyer would look like today, right

Becca admitted that her design of Cleopatra (pictured right) was the most difficult as there were many differing descriptions. Pictured left: A bust of Cleopatra

Becca uses photo manipulation and digital painting techniques to create her modern-day portraits - first finding similar-looking stock images before adding the face of the historical figure.

She said: 'It's easy when I have a realistic portrait to work from, such as Henry VIII or others that clearly show the original hair and eye colour. Contemporary descriptions also help.

'The challenge is in the portrait busts that I create - specifically Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, for example. 

A bust of Alexander the Great (pictured left), who carved out a vast empire when king of Macedonia from 336 to 323 BC. From her research, Becca imagines he would appear as a blond, curly-haired adult (right) in today's society

Another European royal which features in Becca's project is King Louis XV of France (pictured left in a portrait from the 18th century, and right, in the graphic designer's series)

'We just don't have a lot of information on hair, eye and skin colours on many of them, or the reports are conflicting. 

'I do a lot of online research before I create - and some of that involves making an artistic decision at the end of the day if we don't have enough information.'

Becca added: 'I just created Cleopatra because she is one of my most requested subjects, but we don't have much information on her looks. 

A bust of Nefertiti, one of ancient Egypt's most influential Queens, pictured left, and right, in a modern-day interpretation

A statue of Agrippina the Younger (seen left), a Roman empress in the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and Becca's illustration of the young woman (pictured right)

'Even the information we do have, scholars still bitterly debate. Some of them involve making an artistic call, but at the end of the day I try to remain as historically accurate as possible.' 

Becca said her skills have improved 'immensely' since she started her account and revealed how she is looking forward to adding new content to her page.

She said: 'I'm working on more diversity for the page in terms of rulers from all around the world - not just Europe and Egypt - to make sure my work remains exciting and accessible to my followers around the world.

'I have improved my own skills immensely since the inception of the account, which is fun for me.'