The Execution of Lady Jane Grey Essay

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The Execution of Lady Jane Gray, Paul Delaroche, 1833, right. This painting shows Lady Jane Gray blindfolded, in preparation for her execution. She reigned as Queen for nine days in 1553 untilled disposed by supporters of her cousin, Catholic Queen Mary. She was beheaded at the age of just seventeen. As Delaroche was known in his day for scenes from the lives of British Royalty, especially those who were doomed or dying, this event was perfect for the painter. Delaroche wanted to keep his interpretation as accurate to the event as he could. He displays traditional styles of painting, not veering from the truth in any way; Lady Jane Grey is shown to be kneeling on a cushion, surrounded by four people. She is being led to the block by Sir John Brydges who was Lieutenant of the Tower at the time. The executioner stands to the right of the painting and two grieving ladies-in-waiting are to the left. One of the women is on her knees; the other has her back to the audience, hands plaintively pressed against the wall in despair. Under the block is a mound of hay ready to soak up the blood of the young Lady Jane Grey. The piece shows a great deal of passion, sadness and grief. The dark shadows and tones are a key feature in this piece as they give a silent and still atmosphere; everyone dressed in simple and drab colours except the Lady herself. She is dressed in a cream coloured silk dress that drapes over the cushion covering her legs and feet. This gives her an amount of elegance and dignity. There is the illusion of a bright light glowing on Lady Jane Grey; this light has possibly come from the sun shining through a window or perhaps Delaroche wanted to give the Lady subject centre stage and a graceful presence. In this painting your eyes are drawn to, most importantly, Lady Jane Gray but also the other four people in the background, everywhere else is dark and gloomy.

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