1590s Posthumous portrait of Lady Jane Grey Streatham Portrait by ? (National Gallery - London UK)

Art Historian J. Stephan Edwards assessed this portrait and his last two post scripts are informative for the purposes of this Web site:  "Post post script, January 2007 : The National Portrait Gallery (London) has now acquired the portrait (NPG accession number 6804) and will be placing it on permanent display in the Tudor Gallery in the summer of 2007 following conservation work. The NPG believes the portrait does, in fact, depict Lady Jane Grey, though they also note that it was not painted until at least forty years after her death, perhaps as a copy of a lost original.

Another Post Script, Spring 2010 : The Streatham Portrait has been removed from public display, and there are reportedly no plans at present to return it to the public galleries at the NPG. No reason for the removal has been released."

Earlier in the assessment, Edwards stated the age was assessed by performing dendrochronological sequencing (tree ring dating) of the wood in the frame and advised "...so that this cannot be a life portrait of Jane Grey. It may, however, be a later copy of a lost original.."

The assessment includes, "The style of the costume is also correct for the period 1550–1553. The V-shaped bottom hem of the bodice became popular after the 1540s. The farthingale sleeves passed out of popularity around 1555, so that the painting probably pre-dates that time. The French hood and chemise collar are also correct for the early 1550s. As with the Eworth portrait, the number and quality of the jewels also suggest a person of quite high social and economic status. The richly embroidered silken and velvet fabrics are also indicative of high status. And again as with the Eworth portrait, the sitter wears no wedding ring, suggesting the young lady was unmarried. If Jane is the sitter, the portrait must therefore date to before her marriage in May 1553.

There are, however, certain questions that arise from the costume. The chemise collar is embroidered along the edge with fleur-de-lis. That design served as a heraldic emblem for the Crown of France. And while the English monarchs of the Tudor period also laid nominal claim to the crown of France, and Jane’s grandmother was briefly Queen Consort of France, the right to bear those emblems was limited in law. Jane was not, prior to June 1553, herself an heir to the throne of England, and thus would have had no right to the French heraldic emblems. Their usage in this portrait is, to me, a reason to question an identification of the sitter as Jane Grey, though not an insurmountable one."

The original viewers of the work would include people who were alive and aware of dress at the time Lady Jane was executed so the artist had to create authentic costume for the viewers. (S)he probably researched costume to be accurate. The accuracy of the face would be less important if few people had seen Lady Jane Grey or other images of her. Imagine the 1950s-set drama Revolutionary Road in 2008 dress.

Lady Jane wears a dress with English style with the collar and, especially, the sleeves in this recently discovered portrait that assessors (see caption above image) believe is posthumous.

Keywords:  Jane Grey, Grey family, Dudley family, Queen, English, straight coiffure, vee neckline, French hood, jeweled headdress, neckline ruff, girdle, vee waistline, kirtle, false sleeves, cuffs, puffed cloth ornaments, farthingale, blackwork, necklace, brooch, jeweled pendant chain, jeweled pendant, jeweled sleeves, jeweled over-skirt

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