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Pierre Lombart (1612/13-1681)

OLIVERIVS MAGNAE BRITANNIAE. HIBERNIAE ET TOTIVS ANGLICI IMPERII PROTECTOR 1655

Engraving | 55.4 x 35.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 601864

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An engraving of Oliver Cromwell, mounted, full-length, holding the reins in his left hand and a sceptre in his right. He has long hair, a lace collar over armour, and a sash. He is attended by a page pictured holding a helmet. Behind the figures there is a view of a landscape with a battle underway in the middle ground. With a Latin inscription below.

Oliver Cromwell served as Member of Parliament, firstly for Huntingdon and later for Cambridge. He was one of the principal commanders of the New Model Army during the Civil War. Following the defeat of Charles I and the Royalist forces, Cromwell was one of the 'regicides' who ordered and signed the warrant for the king's execution. He was active as a member of the 'Rump Parliament' before becoming Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland on 16 December 1653.

Although Cromwell encouraged naturalism in his portraits, this example follows tropes of official portraiture to proclaim Cromwell's authority: the French engraver Pierre Lombart adapted the monumental equestrian portrait of Charles I painted by Van Dyck in 1633 (RCIN 405322). Lombart changed some details, substituting Charles I's exquisite lace collar and garter sash for a more austere collar, and replacing his riding master and equerry Pierre Antoine Bourdin, Seigneur de St Antoine, with an anonymous squire. On the death of Cromwell and the return of Charles II, Lombart re-engraved his copperplate, replacing the head of Cromwell, firstly with that of Louis XIV of France, and later with that of Charles I (see RCIN 601865).

Text adapted from Charles II: Art & Power, London, 2017