Images of Cromwell

Picture 1: Cromwell on horseback (1650)

Cromwell on horseback 1650.
Cromwell on horseback 1650.

Here, Cromwell is portrayed as a military commander - he is astride his horse in full armour with baton in hand. The sash is a symbol of rank as is the armour. It is actually quite a regal pose despite Cromwell's dislike of the 'Pomp and Glory' of the monarchy.

This is a picture from a pamphlet called 'A Perfect Table of One Hundred Forty and Five Victories obtained by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland '. The text of the pamphlet goes on to tell of Cromwell's activities in Ireland including skirmishes, battles and victories . During the Civil War, English authority in Ireland was almost destroyed and at that time, the rebels in Ireland were seen as a major threat. The result of this was that Cromwell's victories were greeted with great enthusiasm.

Taken from: A Perfect Table of one hundred forty and five Victories obtained by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and the Parliament forces under his command, since his Excellency was made Governor General by the Parliament of England
Creator: unknown
Publisher: Robert Ibbitson (printer); William Ley (seller), London
Date created: 1650
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelf mark: 669.f.15(26.)


Picture 2: Oliver Cromwell between two pillars (1653-1659)

This engraving is an image of Oliver Cromwell created by his supporters towards the end of his time as Lord Protector.
Few positive images of Cromwell survive today. This is partly because of his historical reputation. It is also because when the monarchy was restored in 1660 (after Cromwell's death in 1659) a mass of material was published attacking Cromwell.

This is a useful source for historians. The picture provides a range of images and ideas which show what Cromwell's supporters thought his virtues were. Not surprisingly, there is a strong religious and Puritan tone to the image. The images of Mount Zion and Noah's Ark show this. The pillars represent his spiritual and temporal (political and military) strength. Although Cromwell is in military uniform himself, there are strong images of peace, justice and prosperity, particularly at the foot of the picture.

Creator:  unknown
Publisher: unknown
Date created:  [1658]
Copyright:   By permission of the British Library Board
Shelf mark:  Add. MS 32352 f.228


Picture 3: The Royal Oake of Brittayne (1649)

This complex image is a highly effective piece of political propaganda attacking Cromwell for dismantling the regime of Charles I. Cromwell is ordering republican soldiers to chop down the royal oak . The tree is a symbol of the monarchy. If you look carefully you can see the royal crown, sceptre and coat of arms in the tree. Hanging off the branches are Eikon Basilike (a book popular with royalists supposedly containing the reflections and thoughts of the king before his execution), the Bible, Magna Carta, statues and reports. Cromwell is standing on a ball described as a 'slippery place' and is just above the entrance to hell overturning his apparent piety.

The image was created in 1649, in a book published in 1660, which was started in 1640 by Clement Walker, a disgruntled Parliamentarian. He was arrested for this and charged with high treason, dying in the Tower of London in 1651. This image identified Cromwell as the personality driving the new regime and the scapegoat for the execution of the King.

Taken from:  Anarchia Anglicana: or the history of independency
Creator:  unknown artist, Clement Walker (original author)
Publisher:  R.Royston at the Angel in Ivy Lane, London
Date created:  1649
Copyright:   By permission of the British Library Board
Shelf mark:   E.1052


Picture 4: Cromwell with crown, sceptre and orb. (1659)

This image was created by the republican regime, after the death of Cromwell, and on the succession of his son Richard as Lord Protector. During his lifetime, Cromwell had refused the offer of the crown. However he was given a very royal funeral. It was traditional to lay a monarch's body in state for a while before burial. This picture shows the wooden and wax effigy of Cromwell set up in the public hall of Somerset House. Significantly Cromwell is wearing the symbols of royal office - the crown, sceptre and orb which he never wore during his life. This was a kind of posthumous coronation, which was design to suggest continuity, with the protectorate taking over from the monarchy and with Richard Cromwell succeeding his father as Lord Protector.

Taken from:   The Pourtraiture of His Royal Highness, Oliver late Lord Protector &c. in his Life and Death; with a short view of his government. As also a description of his standing and lying in state at Sommerset-House, and the manner of his funeral solemnity, on Tuesday November 23.

Creator: [By Henry Dawbeny?]
Publisher: Printed by T.N. for Edward Thomas
Date created: 1659
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelf mark: 1093.c.51