Artist: George Frederick Folingsby
Title: Lady Jane’s Victory Over Bishop Gardiner
Materials: oil on canvas
Size: 120.9 x 129.5 cm
Current Location: Original painting, whereabouts unknown. Preparatory paintings held in the collection of The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
A painting depicting a fictional scene in which Bishop Gardiner visits Jane Grey in The Tower of London and offers her and her husband a pardon if she converts to the Catholic faith.
The tradition that Jane was offered a pardon appears to stem from the period immediately after her death. Her conference with John Feckenham was being circulated in printed format and was used as a way of promoting that even Jane, stayed strong to the Protestant faith, when faced with death. The story that she also conducted a debate with Bishop Gardiner appears in the popular fictional book The Tower of London, An Historical Romance by William Harrison, first published in 1840.
In Folingsby’s painting, Jane is seen, seated next to a table with her bible resting on her lap. She appears in the left-hand side of the painting, in profile, and one of her ladies-in-waiting stands behind her chair. No image has yet been located as a possible source for Folingsby’s depiction of Jane. Standing to the right-hand side is Bishop Gardiner, who holds the scroll containing the written pardon in his right hand.
This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art in 1871 and was described in the catalouge for the exhibition as
Item 445 – Lady Jane’s Victory Over Bishop Gardiner – G.F Folingsby
“Gardiner is deputed by Queen Mary to convince Lady Jane of her errors, and offer a pardon for herself and her husband on the condition of being reconciled with the Church of Rome. She refuses to recant, and Gardiner breaks of the discussion in a rage”
The original painting has vanished from record, since exhibited in 1871 and its current location is unknown. An engraving of the original was made in 1871 and appeared in the illustrated London News.
A small collection of preparatory paintings made and signed by the artist were purchased by The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in 1891. These are currently held in the galleries store and are not on public show.