In February of 1554, Lady Jane Grey wrote a farewell message to her father in the small prayer book she would carry with her to her execution.
The Lord comfort your Grace, and that in his word wherein all creatures only are to be comforted. And though it has pleased god to take away two of your children, yet think not, I most humbly beseech your Grace, that you have lost them, but trust that we, by leaving this mortal life, have won an immortal life. And I for my part, as I have honoured your Grace in this life, will pray for you in another life. Your Grace’s humble daughter, Jane Dudley.
When reading this quote, one can only feel sympathy for the young girl who was about to lose her life, taking the time to comfort her father in the only way she knew how, by writing. Some of the words written within this short message do stand out, one sentence written by Jane has always interested me.
“we, by leaving this mortal life, have won an immortal life.”
When writing this, Jane is clearly discussing her beliefs that upon her death she will be welcomed into heaven due to her religious beliefs. Today, it is down to the individual to decide as to what opinion they feel regarding this. What is clear is that with her death, Jane most certainly did win that ‘immortal life’ discussed, especially within the world of art.
Almost immediately after Jane’s life was taken on that cold day in February 1554, two Jane’s began to appear. The first was the real Lady Jane Dudley, who was made queen, ruled for thirteen days, and was executed for high treason. The second was Lady Jane Grey, the innocent protestant martyr, who died for her religious beliefs and was bullied and manipulated by the people around her. One Jane would eventually overshadow the other as time progressed especially within depictions of her life.
February 2019 marked the 465th anniversary of the execution of Lady Jane Grey. It could be argued that today, with the use of the internet, social media, television, and film, her immortality is at its height. Her story has travelled down the centuries with the use of printed text and art and it continues to grab public interest today.
A large amount of paintings depicting various scenes from her life have been produced over the centuries. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century at total of 32 paintings depicting a scene from the life of Lady Jane Grey were exhibited in the Royal Academy of Art in London. Some have been inspired by real life events and others by fictional scenes from plays and books produced at various periods in time. Some paintings have also been inspired by the various portraits associated with Jane and in some cases, the artist has attempted to locate what was thought to be an authentic image of Jane and used this to create their own interpretation.
This part of the website will be used to create some sort of database to discuss the various paintings depicting scenes from the life of Lady Jane Grey produced after her death. These painting tell her life story, but they also reveal a great deal of the changing viewpoints in which Jane Grey was regarded in later times.
 Edwards. Stephan. The Lady Jane Grey’s Prayer Book, British Library Manuscript 2342, folio 78-80
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