The Execution of Lady Jane Grey is an oil painting by Paul Delaroche completed in 1833. It was kept in storage for many decades, for much of which it was thought lost. It is currently kept in the National Gallery in London. It is a highly popular work, especially with younger visitors. The painting portrays, erroneously in some regards, the moments preceding the death of Lady Jane Grey, who on 10 July 1553 was proclaimed Queen of England, only to be deposed nine days later and executed in 1554. Jane is sometimes known as the “Nine Days’ Queen” due to the brevity of her reign.
Paul Delaroche (Paris, 17 July 1797 – 4 November 1856) was a French painter who achieved his greater successes painting history. He became famous in Europe for his melodramatic scenes that often portrayed subjects from English and French history. The emotions emphasised in Delaroche’s paintings appeal to Romanticism while the detail of his work along with the deglorified portrayal of historic figures follow the trends of Academicism and Neoclassicism. Delaroche aimed to depict his subjects and history with pragmatic realism. He did not consider popular ideals and norms in his creations, but rather painted all his subjects in the same light whether they were historical figures, founders of Christianity, or real people of his time like Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie-Antoinette. Delaroche was a leading pupil of Antoine-Jean Gros and later mentored a number of notable artists like Thomas Couture, Jean-Léon Gérôme, and Francisque Millet.