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TheExecution of Lady Jane Grey by KristinaGehrmann TheExecution of Lady Jane Grey by KristinaGehrmann
In the Tudor era (and probably in the Middle Ages too) it was customary for the executioner to ask the condemned's forgiveness. It was supposed to show that he held no malice towards the victim; that he was only an extension of the law doing his job. By granting forgiveness the condemned also had a chance of showing magnanimity in the face of death, thus leaving a good impression on the spectators.
Lady Jane Grey forgave her executioner, as did Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard before her.

Who was Lady Jane Grey? She was designated queen by young king Edward Seymour (the son and successor of Henry VIII, as you remember).
But when he died in 1553, she managed to be queen for only about 2 weeks, because Henry's daughter Mary Tudor had many supporters and so became queen the same year.
The 17 year old Lady Jane Grey, though she didn't plot against Queen Mary herself, became a symbol of resistance and Protestantism and so became dangerous to the Catholic politics of Mary. Queen Mary had her executed for "high treason" in 1554.

You can read the entire story on Wikipedia here:…

Even today historians aren't sure if she had a legitimate claim to the throne or not, so she's usually not included in a line-up of English regents.

Hmm. That's quite a lot of death scenes in my portfolio so far. Perhaps I should paint a birth some time...! Nevermind. The next painting, of course, is going to feature Mary Tudor ("the Catholic" or "Bloody Mary" depending on whose side you're on).

Photoshop and Wacom tablet as always, took about 30 hours or so. (Social life? What's that? XD)
Wood and brick wall textures snatched from .
Screaming guy referenced from alastock -…
Lady-in-waiting referenced from lockstock -…
Special thanks to the folks on for kicking my butt :heart:

WIP can be seen here:…

© Kristina Gehrmann

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Or follow my sketchbook on - regularly updated since 2008...

My web portfolio!

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Add a Comment:
Skoshi8 Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
I believe that the practice was to use the sword by itself (swung like a baseball bat) and the block was only used with the axe.
ButterflyConcept Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Student General Artist
Wow the figures have a strong expression.
I can see what they feel!

You specialize you on the middle age or?
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, I specialize in history illustration in general.
ButterflyConcept Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Student General Artist
Wow, this is remarkably!

I will watch you and be waiting for more awesome illustrations! ;) (Wink) 
mockingbirdontree Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015
I think I read a book about that poor girl. Heartbreaking to lose ones life at such a young age. But the pic is awesome.
urzapw2000 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015
Henry and Mary killed a lot of people...
I like Elizabeth the best
Noojie-Woojie Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2014
She was blindfolded in her execution if im not mistaken. :)
Kiwwy Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014
off with her head!
colormeroyal Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
Beautiful artwork!

 Jane Grey did have a bit of claim to the throne since her mother, Lady Frances Grey was the daughter of Mary Tudor, Queen of France's daughter (King Henry VIII's younger sister).  The thing was, her cousin Mary had a bigger claim being the daughter of Henry VIII and the will listed her as an heir to the throne despite her previous status as illegitimate.  
theterriblezodin Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is superb.
RomancesSansParoles Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I love that you have done Tudor times! It was such an interesting time period:heart:
AJInu-Okami Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Somewhere I read that Jane first saw Mary as her friend then felt really betrayed when Mary sent her to die for no reason except for just 'being an obstacle' basically while some claim that Mary was forced to do it by the ambassadors of Spain telling her that her 'love' wouldn't come to England under the Protestant rule.
Tsubasa9496 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013
Great, but Jane seymour died in childbirth.
StealthNerd Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, but this painting isn't of Jane Seymour. It's of Jane Grey.
Tsubasa9496 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
oh, oops.
Poetsiren Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013
Well thought and researched premise for an artistic piece! APPLAUSE!! Clap 
Shmelanna Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013  Student
Wow, this reminds me of the Old Masters' work.. very impressive!
ObscureSanctuary Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
great story surrounding this, and great depiction of the scene
Fafnirr Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love Tudor era's. I read all books about it... It is an amazing era of UK History, and tjis paint is gorgeous! I love it :D
aud Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013
I'm surprised to see a Lady Jane painting. This is a great painting. I'll have to show my sister, she was really into studying Lady Jane. She even dressed up as her for a school project.
AnjaDiPaolo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I SO love this artwork! Light and storytelling are really strong. :heart:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :heart:
LadyAnneBoleyn00 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013
I love how you have made Lady jane look so young!!!!
KahlanAmnell123 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013
I love the detail you put into these pieces. Specifically the facial expression, you can see the characters personality trough little hints you put here and there. The smirk and pretensious feel you get when looking at the man standing to the right, Lady Jane Grey's sadness and fear, you can also see how shy and young she is just with her positoning. Brilliant!
MotionActa Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
Wow the detail has a real feel into the picture, Great work
Bragi-dog Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013
Well, technically she was the legit Queen, Edward's Deuise says so, and as his will was more recent and far more rationale and um less confusing than Henry's mistake and hole-ridden incompetent testament, it leaves it to Edward to select the next ruler, and since mary and bessie were illegitimate, that makes them illegal monarchs thus making Jane next in line and unlawfully killed....
Anyways, enough of my history chatter...... POOOOOORRRR JAAAANNNNEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WalpurgisAk Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
Wouldn't the executioner's blade be flat-tipped?
riverotter7 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
He would have had an axe instead of a sword. Anne Boleyn had the Executioner from France come over and "do" her execution with a very sharp sword. The Lady Jane Grey-Dudley, although she might have been crowned (not) for 16 days, was abandoned by everyone she held near and dear once Queen Mary drew near. Even her father the Duke of Northumberland threw down his sword and hailed for Mary once he was beaten in the field.

Mary didn't WANT to execute her cousin. She believed her to be innocent; but again, that whole Spanish marriage thing came into play and the ambassadors kept picking on her to execute Lady Jane otherwise Philip wasn't going to come to England. Poor Mary at 38 thought she could still give birth to a child and give England a male heir. She hadn't had regular menses for years and was probably already going through the uterine cancer which killed her two years later.
WalpurgisAk Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Thanks for the clarification about the sword. :)
WorldsEdge Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Wow. You can really see how she feels at that moment.
Silvermoonlight Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When ever I read Lady Janes story I feel really sorry for her she was so young and she just got caught between a rock and a hard place because of Mary who was such a tyrant.
lenia90 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist
atemberaubend gut eingefangen!
MissSindy Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
Poor Jane Grey :(
LillyHope Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012
jschein Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012
shes my favorite queen of England. A Queen who represented the Protestant democratic revolution against Catholic feudalism. A Queen who embodied republican revolt!
icechick123844 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
I agree! She's very brave, and also interesting to read about!
UnderlandDigital Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012   Digital Artist
starrynights1987 Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Student Writer
beautiful yet so tragic! I love Tudor History
Joa-Moon Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Student General Artist
So sad but still so beautiful! :D
Lathroniel Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Jane Grey did have a claim to the throne, albeit a very small one, her grandmother being Henry VIIIs sister Mary and her grandfather being Charles Brandon: Duke of Suffolk.

The Poor girl is known to a lot of people as "the 9 day queen" as she was quickly arrested by Mary's loyal supporters who longed to have a catholic ruler once again after so many years of unrest during the reformation etc etc.

@english Autumn... Anne was the only one beheaded using a sword. The swordsman was Jean Rombaud from Saint Omer in France.... and Anne didnt actually request it, in fact.. he was already on his way before Annes trial even commenced.
FoxxyLover Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
Mary I was known as "Bloody Mary" because of the violent executions of Protestants, traitors, and many other innocents under her rule. And Lady Jane Grey's execution was a terrible thing to happen. That poor woman.
inocent Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
wow ! It's so intense..! So sad !
It's a wonderful painting !
jachappers-x Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Student Photographer
Ive looked through all of your tudor/medieval portraits of females and I was going to suggest you did this one, and then i found it, so I was very happy :) I do Tudor History A Level, Jane was really innocent and was 'queen' for 9 days!
Vampyre-Lover Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Another Stunning Piece For The Museum!!!
ThePrincessNightmare Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
awesome job!!
S-y-c Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012
Poor Lady Jane, she was a pawn in a political game.
Kana-Hyoshi Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012   Artist
Oddly, they call her Jane in 3 yet in the original they claimed her name was Elvira. And if you do the right quest and listen real carefully, they call her "Brianne". You'd think Lionhead would at least remember her first name.
Kana-Hyoshi Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012   Artist
they call her "Brianne" in 2
Kana-Hyoshi Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012   Artist
crap, I posted the wrong thing, this is what I get for checking out 8 things at once, sorry, this was meant for a video game. But this is awesome! It really is. I just wish I could keep my comments together.
A-D-McGowan Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
excellent work
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Submitted on
September 26, 2011
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