Engraving of Stephen Langton showing the Coronation Charter of Henry I to the barons

Description

This engraving by John George Murray depicts a scene in which Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury (1150-1228), purportedly showed a copy of Henry I’s Coronation Charter to an assembly of barons in the abbey church at Bury St Edmunds. Although attired in medieval clothing, each baron in the engraving was a named 19th-century nobleman, drawn from life. Their hair styles, replete with sideburns, betray their true era, while a separate key identifies them as 18 members of the modern nobility of Great Britain and Ireland. Most prominent in the centre, with an ermine-trimmed cloak, is the second Marquess of Hastings, while to his left stands the third Duke of Northumberland. These noblemen were the self-appointed descendants of the Runnymede barons, responsible for the defence, preservation and implementation of the liberties enshrined in Magna Carta.

Full title:
Magna Charta engraving
Created:
1833
Format:
Artwork
Copyright:
© Trustees of the British Museum, British Museum Standard Terms of Use
Held by
The British Museum
Shelfmark:
18,930,612.88

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The origins of Magna Carta

Article by:
Nicholas Vincent
Theme:
Medieval origins

Professor Nicholas Vincent explores the medieval context in which the historic agreement at Runnymede was created, examining King John’s Plantagenet heritage, his loss of French territory and his relationship with the Church and the barons.

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