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Lady Elizabeth Grey Beseeching Edward IV

Richard Westall (1765-1836)


Signed and dated 1789

Watercolour with bodycolour

12 ½ x 16 ¾ inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show 2024', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, June-September 2024, no 11

Various artistic depictions of Lady Elizabeth Grey Beseeching Edward IV survive, and they refer to her plea to return her late husband’s land following his death in 1461 at the Second Battle of St Albans. Usually she is portrayed with her two sons and ladies-in-waiting but in Westall’s more intimate scene, he conveys the desperation attached to the pair’s first meeting. Lady Elizabeth Grey was a commoner, a widow and a Lancastrian – aspects which would usually forbid her union with King Edward. Nonetheless, three years later Lady Elizabeth Grey and Edward IV married in secret. Controversially, they would go on to rule England together until Edward’s death in 1483.

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