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Oliver Cromwell

Early Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Oliver Cromwell

by Samuel Cooper
1656
2 3/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. (70 mm x 57 mm) oval
NPG 3065

Inscriptionback to top

Signed in monogram, on the left SC./1656.

This portraitback to top

Cromwell appears a little older than in NPG 5589.
NPG 3065 derives from the unfinished ad vivum Cooper belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch, Cooper’s original, unfinished, ad vivum sketch, one of the finest images of an English statesman, [1] ‘the primary visual document for Cromwell’. It was much copied for commissioned official gifts; a version at Chequers Court is inscribed as a gift to Queen Christina of Sweden (K. Pearson & G. K. Morant, ‘Portraiture of Oliver Cromwell’, Biometrica, XXVI, 1935, pl.xliv). A good replica of NPG 3065, dated 1657, is now at Compton Verney (formerly with Viscount Harcourt). [2] A variant, attributed to Cooper, is at Chatsworth. [3]
Copies by C. Richter are in the Royal Collection, [4] at Chatsworth, with Lord Crewe (K. Pearson & G. K. Morant, ‘Portraiture of Oliver Cromwell’, Biometrica, XXVI, 1935, pl.xli), and in the Wallace Collection. [5] Others by Bernard Lens are in the Royal Collection, [6] at Rousham [7] and at Welbeck, [8] and by A. B Lens in the Victoria and Albert Museum (E.599-1994). [9] Unattributed versions, showing variations in the armour, include NPG 514, NPG 588 and NPG 2426.
The head was also used by Lely for his portrait of Cromwell of c.1653, see Iconography.

Footnotesback to top

1) See D. Piper, ‘The contemporary Portraits of Oliver Cromwell’, Wal. Soc., XXIV, 1958, pp 31-32, no.4; exh. ‘A Loan Exhibition of of the Principal Contemporary Portraits of Oliver Cromwell’, NPG, 1958(5); O. Millar in Treasure Houses, 1985(76); S. Lloyd, Portrait Miniatures from the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch, Scottish NPG, 1996, pp 48-49, no.372.
2) Lent by Lord Harcourt to the Museum of London 1939-2006; sold Sotheby’s, 6 June 2007(151).
3) Exh. Samuel Cooper and his contemporaries, NPG, 1974(39).
4) R. J. B. Walker, The eighteenth and early nineteenth century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1992, no.15.
5) Inscribed Sum possessor/C Richter 1708; Reynolds, 1980, no.42. Further copies by Richter sold Sotheby’s, 26 April 1971, lot 182, 10 November 1986, lot 159, and 2 October 2003, lot 6.
6) R. J. B. Walker, The eighteenth and early nineteenth century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1992, no.4.
7) Dated 1717 (Sir George Scharf’s sketch books 64:38).
8) R. W. Goulding, ‘The Welbeck Abbey Miniatures’, Wal. Soc., IV, 1916, no.121.
9) Illus. K. Coombs, The Portrait Miniature in England, 1998, p 82.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1958
D. Piper, ‘The contemporary Portraits of Oliver Cromwell’, Wal. Soc., XXIV, 1958, under no.4.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 93.

Conservationback to top

Poor condition, much restored, with some paint loss (upper left); conserved 1951.

Provenanceback to top

Transferred from the British Museum 1879.

Exhibitionsback to top

Cromwell 1955, no.6; Samuel Cooper and his contemporaries, NPG, 1974, no.43; Marvell, British Museum, 1978, no.50.


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.

View all known portraits for Oliver Cromwell