Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Lord Protector 1653-1658, in gilt-studded armour, white collar, loose brown hair and moustache
on vellum
oval, 3 in. (76 mm.) high, turned wood frame
inscribed on the backing card 'Oliver Cromwele [sic] / by Copper [sic]'
With D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., in 1993.
London, D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., The Monarchy in Portrait Miniatures from Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria, 1993, no. 30 (lent by D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd.).

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Lot Essay

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was the second son of Robert Cromwell (d. 1617) and his wife, Elizabeth Steward (d. 1654). In 1620, he married Elizabeth Bourchier (1598-1665), with whom he had nine children, including Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), who succeeded his father briefly as Lord Protector (1658-1659). Originally an M.P. for Huntingdon and then Cambridge, Cromwell entered the English Civil War on the side of the Parliamentarians, quickly rising to the rank of Lieutenant-General of Cavalry and playing a key role in the defeat of the Royalist forces in both English Civil Wars. One of the signatories of Charles I's death warrant, Cromwell went on to lead brutal campaigns in Ireland and Scotland, before being asked to become Lord Protector in 1653, after a period of parliamentary in-fighting. After suffering from malarial fever, Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. During the Restoration, on the third anniversary of Charles I's execution, the Convention Parliament exhumed Cromwell's body, hung it at Tyburn and had it decapitated.
The present lot compares with a miniature of Cromwell by Richter in the British Royal Collection (see R. Walker, The Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, Cambridge, 1992, pp. 10-11, no. 15), another in the Wallace Collection, signed and dated 1708, and another in the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, of the same date. These portraits derive from a miniature by Samuel Cooper, formerly in the collection of the Viscounts Harcourt and later sold Sotheby's, London, 6 June 2007, lot 151, of which a number of unfinished versions exist.

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