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Oliver Cromwell

7 of 224 portraits of Oliver Cromwell

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Oliver Cromwell

attributed to Samuel Cooper
watercolour on vellum, circa 1655
2 3/8 in. x 1 7/8 in. (60 mm x 48 mm) oval
Purchased, 1979
Primary Collection
NPG 5274

Sitterback to top

  • Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Lord Protector of England. Sitter associated with 224 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Samuel Cooper (1609-1672), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 111 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, John, Oliver the First: Contemporary Images of Oliver Cromwell, 1999, p. 24
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 155
  • Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 33 Read entry

    From 1649, the year of NPG 5589 and of Charles I's execution, Cooper became the principal portrait painter of the Commonwealth, with miniatures of Cromwell's wife and daughters, and of the Lord Protector himself, including the world-famous unfinished portrait in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch. Many versions exist, for example in the Royal Collection and at Welbeck. Cooper's miniature of General Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), was the model for that subject's portrait by Robert Walker (NPG 3301).

Subject/Themeback to top

Events of 1655back to top

Current affairs

Secretary of State, John Thurloe, implements a highly efficient intelligence service and thwarts plans for a series of royalist uprisings which produced only Penruddock's revolt.
Following ineffectual royalist riots, Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, appoints nineteen Major-generals to manage regional government and prevent future challenges to the protectorate.

Art and science

Publication of the controversial work De corpore, by philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, prompts mathematician, John Wallis to scornfully refute the work in Elenchus geometriae Hobbianae, starting a bitter, long-running polemical dispute between the two men.



International

General Robert Venables and Admiral William Penn lead an expedition to the Caribbean to threaten Spanish trade routes and weaken Catholic influence in the New World. An integral part of Cromwell's foreign policy to curb Spanish power, the campaign, Cromwell's 'western design', fails leading to war in Europe.

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