Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) Lord Protector of England

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road

    This head and shoulders view of Oliver Cromwell, dressed in armour, is derived from a three quarter-length by Robert Walker, showing 'Oliver Cromwell with his Page'. There are several versions of 'Oliver Cromwell with his Page', one of the best-known of which is at Leeds Art Gallery.

    Oliver Cromwell was a landowner in East Anglia when elected MP for Huntingdon in 1628. After Charles I dissolved parliament in 1629 (ruling without one for eleven years), Cromwell returned as MP for Cambridge and emerged as a committed Puritan and critic of the King. He played an active role in the revolution (1648-49), which led to Charles's trial and execution. Cromwell was made Commander in Chief, responsible for all parliamentary forces. He led a campaign to impose English control over the Scots, defeating Charles II's army at Dunbar in 1650 and a second Scottish royalist army at Worcester in 1651. In 1653 he forcibly expelled the Rump Parliament to become Lord Proctor, Head of State until his death in 1658.

  • About the artist
    It has been suggested that portraitist Robert Walker trained in Italy and was an assistant to van Dyck. By 1637 he was working independently and in 1650 he became a member of the Painter-Stainer’s Company. Walker is known for his portraits of the great parliamentarians of the period, particularly Cromwell and his officers. He painted versions of Cromwell’s image, all based on sittings by Cromwell in 1649, until 1656. However, his other works include a self-portrait (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) and portraits of ‘John Evelyn’ (on loan to the National Portrait Gallery) and ‘Colonel John Hutchinson and his son’ (private collection). Walker died in 1658, two years before the restoration of the monarchy. His estate passed to his daughter, Jane.
  • Explore
    People
    Cromwell, Oliver
    Places
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) Lord Protector of England
    Date
    1643-1658
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 73.50 cm, width: 62.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Spink and Son, May 1949
    Provenance
    With Spink and Son; from whom purchased by the Minisry of Works in 1949, as 'General Lambert’
    GAC number
    760