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Oliver Cromwell

9 of 224 portraits of Oliver Cromwell

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Oliver Cromwell

by Samuel Cooper
watercolour on vellum, 1656
2 3/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. (70 mm x 57 mm) oval
Transferred from British Museum, 1939
Primary Collection
NPG 3065

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.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 514: Oliver Cromwell (source portrait)
  • NPG 588: Oliver Cromwell (source portrait)
  • NPG D17603: Oliver Cromwell (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 58
  • Cooper, John, Oliver the First: Contemporary Images of Oliver Cromwell, 1999, p. 24
  • Foskett, Daphne, Samuel Cooper, 1974 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 15 March - 15 June 1974), p. 22
  • Parris, Matthew, Heroes and Villains: Scarfe at the National Portrait Gallery, 2003 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 30 September 2003 to 4 April 2004), p. 56
  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 93
  • 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 1656back to top

Current affairs

The Quaker, James Nayler, rides on horseback into Bristol in imitation of Christ entering Jerusalem. He is imprisoned for blasphemy.
Oliver Cromwell reluctantly calls a second Protectorate Parliament hoping a compliant parliament will raise money urgently required for the Anglo-Spanish War and maintenance of military government at home.

Art and science

Political theorist, James Harrington, publishes his influential magnus opus, The Commonwealth of Oceana, which advocates for a utopian republic.
Gardener and collector, John Tradescant the Younger, publishes England's first museum catalogue, Musaeum Tradescantianum, for his museum of rarities housed in his home, called 'The Ark'.

International

War with Spain officially declared. Admiral, Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich concludes a treaty with Portugal eagerly requiring support to free itself from Spain.
Admiral Robert Blake, keeping the fleet at sea throughout the winter to blockade Spain's coastline, enables Captain Richard Stayner to capture a Spanish plate fleet.

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