Lady Jane Grey Dudley

England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’ of July 1553
     This site deals primarily with Lady Jane Grey Dudley, who reigned as uncrowned Queen of England for just nine days in July 1553 before being overthrown by Mary Tudor. Jane Grey was the subject of my doctoral dissertation when I took my Ph.D. in British History in 2007. It is a subject to which I have devoted myself as an independent research historian. 

    This site also contains a growing amount of material born of my own ‘grey matter’ and relating to other topics, including objects believed by their owners to have once belonged to Jane Grey, one man’s amusing theory that Lady Jane’s execution was staged and that she was secretly pardoned and went on to write the works now attributed to William Shakespeare, my take on what it is to be a historian, my rant on one of my pet peeves (the modern misuse of the word “professional”), my analysis of a set of ancient Latin poems said to have been the orgin of the modern acrostic puzzle, and an article from the period when I lived in San Francisco and was active in the gay community there.

    As always, thanks for visting and feel free to use the CONTACT form if you have any questions you would like to pose, whether in relation to Lady Jane Grey Dudley or some other topic in history.

The Berry-Hill Portrait Is Found!
    In my book on portraiture of Lady Jane Grey Dudley published in 2015 (see below), I identified a number of portraits said to depict Jane that are today ‘lost’ or of unknown whereabouts. I hoped at the time that by publishing what was known about the ‘lost’ pictures I could enlist the sleuthing assistance of readers of the book to aid in finding one or more of the missing paintings. I am delighted to say that my hopes have been realized!

    On Sunday, 14 November 2021, I began receiving a small flood of emails alerting me to a new posting on a blog called Auction Augur. The owner of the blog, Francis Mouton, had spotted a painting listed in the catalogue for an auction to be held on 21 November 2021 in Bedford, New York. Butterscotch Auctioneers and Appraisers offered as Lot 209 what they described as “Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots” by “Anglo-Dutch School” that had come from a “Private Collection, Scarsdale, New York.” The keen-eyed blogger knew that the identifcation was not correct and so offered their summary of the available evidence and scholarship in the blog article. Francis reached the conclusion that the portrait, pictured below in a new photograph from the auction house, “is nearly certain to be one of the Grey sisters.”
Lot 209: “Mary, Queen of Scots”
The Berry-Hill Portrait in 1961
    On Monday, 15 November, I spoke with a representative from Butterscotch about the painting. She said that Butterscotch had become aware of the posting on Auction Augur through a significant increase in inquiries that morning regarding the painting. Once I identified myself and described my research to her, it was agreed that the in-house appraiser at Butterscotch would contact me to discuss the identification of the sitter. I subsequently traded emails with the in-house appraiser at Butterscotch Auctioneers over the course of a couple of days. They were very receptive to my input, for which I am grateful. In the end, I spent several hours thinking about the painting and doing some more research, and I wrote up my thoughts for submission to the auction house on 17 November. As a direct result, the listing in the online auction catalogue was significantly amended that same day, with the identification changed from Mary, Queen of Scots to become  Unknown Lady (likely Queen Elizabeth I), though that somewhat overstated my opinion (see Berry-Hill Portrait for what I actually told the Butterscotch appraiser).

    Lot 209 came to the auction block just after 12 noon east coast time on Sunday, 21 November 2021. I had registered as a potential phone bidder and thus was on the phone to the auction room when the lot came up. Even over the phone, the anticipation and excitement in the room could be heard! The auctioneer opened the lot with an announcement that the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC had contacted the auction house to ask that a message be passed along to the winner of the auction: “Would the winning bidder please consider loaning the painting to the Smithsonian for an exhibition now being planned for next year?” That drew a gasp from the auction room audience that was clearly audible even over the phone! Bidding opened at almost $20,000 thanks to online bids already received and was fast and aggressive. Raises were in $10,000 increments. The bid passed $50,000 in just seconds and hit $100,000 in just a couple of minutes. The lucky winner of the auction ultimately paid $158,661 including buyer’s premium and commissions, obliterating the pre-auction estimate of just $5000-$10,000!!! Applause could be heard over the telephone when the hammer came down.

    My personal congratulations to the now-former owner(s) of the painting, and on behalf of the history and art history communities, many thanks for preserving the portrait in such fine condition. Congratulations as well to Butterscotch Auctioneers for a very successful sale, as well as my gratitude for allowing me to be a part of the process. Lastly, I would like to congratulate the new owner(s) of the Berry-Hill Portrait on a fine acquisition!

    For my pre-auction assessment of the re-discovered Berry-Hill Portrait and a post-auction update, click on the image below:

Two books on Lady Jane Grey that I have written and published :
And a 3-part documentary from 2017 made for BBC4
and in which I appear:

Available for free viewing (with advertising) on



was produced in 2017 and was first broadcast on BBC4 in January 2018. It was later broadcast in Australia in July 2018 under the title Lady Jane Grey: Murder of a Child Queen. It is now available to Amazon Prime members via that popular streaming service. It can also be viewed for free on YouTube. 

I was honored to have been consulted by Darlow Smithson Productions during their research and script writing process. I was further privileged to be able to appear as an on-screen “talking head” expert along with Professor John Guy, Leanda de Lisle, and many others. The three-part series was hosted by the incomparable Helen Castor.
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