About this artwork

Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed on 8 February 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle, in Northamptonshire. After nineteen years in captivity, she was found guilty of plotting the assassination of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. This watercolour was made for a Dutch magistrate who compiled an album of historical prints and drawings in 1613. Not surprisingly, the costume and architecture look very Dutch, but the picture does reflect eye witness accounts of the event. Mary's clothes were burnt to prevent supporters keeping them as relics, and this scene is shown on the far left.