The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, an 1833 painting by Paul Delaroche, depicts Lady Jane Grey—"nominal queen of England for just nine days in 1553, as part of an unsuccessful bid to prevent the accession of the Catholic Mary Tudor,“ according to the BBC—just before the execution that closely followed the end of that nine-day reign. (Though "reign” suggests a greater legitimacy to her title than most would grant.)
There is something quite stagy about the setting; the heavy architecture in the background feels peculiarly close to the black-cloth-draped platform, which is itself quite shallow.
The attendants’ palpable anguish, the executioner’s quiet sympathy (the National Gallery calls him “impassive,” but the tilt of his head, the looseness of his grip on the axe, and the shift of his weight slightly towards her—as though he were moments from dropping his weapon and coming to her aid—look to me more like restrained sorrow), and Sir John Brydges’ gentle guidance all have the careful composition of stage blocking, as well.
Yet Lady Jane Grey’s meek hesitancy feels strangely plausible. Paired with her shiningly white undergarments—which, though devoid of sleeve supports and crinolines, could more easily pass for modern than the detailed historical dress of those surrounding her (or even than her own outer dress, now discarded in the arms of the woman behind her)—that plausibility passes into a sort of transcendent timelessness.
She is a grand historical figure, the nine-day queen, on a stage to suit—and yet she is also just a scared sixteen year old, moments from her untimely death.
Born at Kensington Palace, London, on 24 May 1819, she became the longest reigning monarch in English history. In her reign she saw the advances in industry, science, communications (the telegraph, popular press) and other forms of technology; the building of railways and the London Underground, sewers, and power distribution networks; the construction of bridges and other engineering feats; a vast number of inventions; a greatly expanded empire; unequal growth of wealth, with class differences to the fore; tremendous poverty; increase in urban populations, with the growth of great cities like Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham; increased literacy; and great civic works, often funded by industrial philanthropists.
"I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm"- Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
The Queen discussed her dress design with Lord Melbourne, who suggested patronage of struggling English manufacturers rather than the Parisian designers she had been using. The elegant, simple dress designed by the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Willion Dyce of the Government Design School and probably made by Mrs. Bettans, was made of very fine, pale cream silk woven with the Huguenot weavers, such as Samuel Courtauld, of Spitalfiends. The large collar and cuffs were made by lace makers from Honiton in Devon, who had been suffering because of the recent fashion for Brussels lace. Queen Victoria continued to patronize the Honiton lace industry throughout her life.
In a break with tradition, the Queen refused to wear any tiara or coronet, nor any gold or silver woven cloth. Instead, she wore a band of artificial orange blossoms in her hair and a train covered in the same flowers hung from her waist. This was, indeed, not a magisterial outfit, but a simple, well-designet, expensive wedding dress.
Deborah Jaffé - Victoria: Her Life, Her People, Her Empire
Raised among the vikings, Thor, son of Odin, is known as a dreadful warrior who had lead his tribe to many victories on the battlefield, earning him the name of the “Dragon of the North”, the one who shines among the bloodbaths. Loki, son of Laufey and Heir of the throne of England, is mostly know as an skillful diplomat who had earned the respect of all his subjects by his numerous victories against the invaders from the North.
Their encounter happened on the battlefield; Loki was giving order to his men when he caught sight of the famous “Dragon” : his sword bringing death upon the english army, a fierce yet royal look in his piercing blue eyes as his red cape, covered in a deep blood, flying behind him. The glorious incarnation of Death herself. Loki found himself mesmerized by this apparition, not believing his very eyes as the viking warrior flashed him an cocky smirk, his lower lip bleeding slightly as he cut off the head of an english warrior as if it was nothing.
A simple thought crossed Loki’s mind as he watched, completely still, the viking continuing his glorious and morbid duty, admiring the mesmerizing beauty of it. He wanted him. He wanted to see this man fight by his sides. He wanted to conquer him, submit him entirely. The Dragon of the North will become his and only his…