Execution of Lady Jane Grey
Paul Delaroche

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This painting is, although of a historical event, inaccurate. Lady Jane Grey was a young woman who was manipulated by noblemen to take over the throne after Mary I death. She is known as the Nine Day Queen, arrested and tried for High treason at the age of 16. She was executed on tower green, whereas Delaroche depicts the event taking place in a dungeon. Delaroche further shows her having problems finding the block which according to accounts from the time explain it as when she put on her own blindfold she was groping and could not find the block, she panicked and cried where is it. Whereupon a hand guided her to the block and she was beheaded.
Delaroche captures this moment of doubt poignantly, showing Lady Jane Grey groping for the block the panick is there on her face for all to see. A man leans over her with one hand on her arm showing her the way. While her maidservants have collapsed in the background. Jane herself is dressed all in white and the light that there is in the dungeon is shining on her giving the dress a quality of purity untouched by the dirt of the straw on the floor. The axeman seems to be the only one untouched by the events as he stands and waits impassively for the lady to lay her head on the block.