After an original painting by Paul Delaroche.
A copy by an unknown artist of a much larger painting (Paris, Louvre) first exhibited by Delaroche at the Paris Salon of 1831. The two boys, Edward V and Richard Duke of York, are the sons of Edward IV, seen in their chambers at the Tower of London, where they had been taken 'for their protection' after the death of their father in 1483. They never re-emerged, and their uncle and Protector, Richard III, took the throne in their place, and is most often blamed for the boys' presumed murder, although historians continue to debate the turn of events.
Delaroche has created a theatrical and touching image, drawing on Shakespeare's later dramatisation of the alleged murder in Richard III: the little dog and the younger boy, Richard, perhaps sense the arrival of their uncle's murderous henchmen - an ominous glow appears at the bottom of the door to their bedroom. The creation of melodramatic scenes from history as works of art was fashionable in the 19th century, alongside romanticised stories of the past.