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Early Stuart Portraits Catalogue

John Bunyan (1628-1688), Author of 'The Pilgrim's Progress'

Nonconformist visionary and author; b. Elstow, Beds.; became a tinker; joined the New Model Army 1645-47; preached for some two years in Bedford; in times of much sectarian controversy, became a Calvinist, influenced by Luther and discovered the Quakers 1656; imprisoned in Bedford goal 1660-72 (refusing to acknowledge the Act against Sectaries), released at Charles II’s declaration of indulgence; published Grace Abounding 1666 and The Pilgrim’s Progress 1678 (of which nearly one hundred editions had been published by 1760). He persisted in his unlicensed preaching, was often in hiding, and died of pneumonia as a consequence of his persistent labours as a minister.

‘he was tall of stature, strong boned, though not corpulent, somewhat of a ruddy face, with sparkling eyes, wearing his hair on his upper lip, after the old British fashion; his hair reddish, but in his latter days time had sprinkled it with grey; his nose well set, but not declining or bending, and his mouth moderately large; his forehead something high, and his habit always plain and modest’ (attrib. George Cockayn, a Bedford Independent and friend of Bunyan; John Brown, John Bunyan, 1928, p 386).

‘His countenanced was grave and sedate, and did so to the life discover the inward frame of his heart, that it was convincing to the beholders and did strike something of awe into them that had nothing of the fear of God’ (John Wilson; a lay preacher and friend of Bunyan; John Brown, John Bunyan, 1928, p 387).

Referencesback to top

Brown 1928
John Brown, John Bunyan, 1928.


This extended catalogue entry is by John Ingamells, one of a limited number of entries drafted in 2010 for the incomplete catalogue, Early Stuart Portraits 1625-1685, and is as written then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.