The Wallace Collection

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Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower
  • Hippolyte (Paul) Delaroche (1797 - 1856)
  • Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower
  • France
  • 1831
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 43.5 x 51.3 cm
    Object size: 71.5 x 80 x 15.5 cm
  • Signature: 'Paul DelaRoche 1831.'
    Inscription: 'King Edward V'
  • P276
  • West Gallery II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This is a replica, painted for engraving, of a much larger picture (Paris, Louvre) exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1831. The subject is probably taken from Shakespeare’s 'Richard III', IV, iii. Edward V (1470-83) succeeded to the throne on the death of his father Edward IV. He was deposed by his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester (who became Richard III) on 22 June 1483. Shortly afterwards, he and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York (1472-83), were murdered in the Tower of London. In Shakespeare’s play the murder of the brothers is related by Sir James Tyrrel, Richard III’s henchman, rather than shown on stage. Nevertheless, the painting, with its stage-like setting and melodramatic subject, is highly theatrical. The dog and perhaps the young Duke of York sense the arrival of the approaching murderers. An ominous shadow can be seen at the bottom of the door to the bedchamber. The presence in the composition of the bed, the prie-dieu and the missal which the brothers have been reading indicates that Delaroche is making a subversive reference to the traditional subject of the Annunciation (cf. Philippe de Champaigne, 'The Annunciation', P134). the illumination on the left-hand page of the missal represents the Annunciation. This is one of several paintings by Delaroche where he grafted some of the classic structures of the great European tradition on to his compositions - a technique used earlier by David and Gros and also by, among others, Gericault and Bonington among Delaroche's contemporaries.