Paul Delaroche: The execution of Lady Jane Grey (1834)


(National Gallery, London, UK)

A historical piece by the French artist Paul Delaroche (1797 – 1856). The painting shows the final moments of Lady Jane Grey (1537 – 1554). Lady Jane Grey was the eldest daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk and a great-granddaughter of king Henry VII of England. When king Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, died in 1553 the king had named lady Jane Grey as his successor in his will. At first Mary Tudor, daughter of 
king Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, was the successor but Edward changed this shortly before his death. Jane Grey reluctantly accepted the crown and she was officially proclaimed Queen of England, France and Ireland. Mary Tudor managed to gather support for her claim and deposed Jane after she reigned for only nine days. Jane Grey was imprisoned in the tower of Londen charged of high treason and she was beheaded together with her husband Lord Guilford Dudley 12 February 1554. Delaroche shows the execution in a somewhat altered scene (the architecture in the background is incorrect). The 16-year old Jane Grey is the blindfolded woman in white who is being assisted by John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos. Chandos, Lieutenant of the Tower at the time of Jane's execution. the two grieving women in the background are two ladies in waiting who accompanied Jane during her stay in the tower. Painting from 1834.

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