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Treason, Plots and Murder

Past display archive
26 May 2013 - 13 July 2014

Room 16


The Gunpowder Plot Conspirators, 1605
by Crispijn de Passe the Elder
circa 1605
NPG 334a

The seventeenth century was witness to frequent and often gruesome plots, scandals and murders. From the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 to the Rye House Plot of 1683 the motivation was often religious; although religion and political power were inextricably linked during the Stuart period. Not all seventeenth-century ‘plots’ were plots at all; the Popish Plot of 1678 was fabricated by Titus Oates with a consequence that dozens of innocent people were brutally executed. Sexual politics could be equally controversial and were central to the case of the Thomas Overbury murder in 1613. This display explores these unwholesome episodes through contemporary prints and raises questions about the role that print culture could play in promoting a highly biased version of events.

© National Portrait Gallery, London


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