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: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Jan…
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 cgtextures.com .
Screaming guy referenced from alastock
Lady-in-waiting referenced from lockstock
Special thanks to the folks on Conceptart.org for kicking my butt WIP can be seen here: img196.imageshack.us/img196/34…
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