The Embleme of Englands distractions, 1658


This celebrated engraving, known unofficially as ‘Cromwell Between Two Pillars’, underwent a transformation between these two versions, published in 1658 and 1690 respectively. This original version, attributed to William Faithorne the Elder (1616-91), depicted Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the Lord Protector, in favourable terms. Cromwell is praised in this print for upholding the rule of law and the Protestant faith. He is shown treading underfoot the Whore of Babylon, representing the Roman Catholic Church, and on either side of him stands a pillar, that on the right decorated with allegorical figures of England, Scotland and Ireland, and that on the left with several legal ideals, among them ‘Magna Charta’. A Latin inscription at the foot asks that the Lord Protector should flourish.

Full title:
The Embleme of Englands distractions as also of her attained, and further expected Freedome, & Happines per H.M.
Francis Barlow, William Faithorne
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