a rare pair of carved oak relief panels of Oliver CRomwell (1599–1658) and richard Cromwell (1626–1712)

English. First Half Of The Nineteenth Century Or Earlier.


Height: 23in (59cm); Width: 18in (46cm)

Of carved oak. Now mounted in carved leaf-pattern giltwood frames.

The panel of Oliver Cromwell incised with the date 1653 and the initials ‘OC’.
The panel of Richard Cromwell incised with the initials ‘RC’.

This rare pair of carved relief portrait panels depicts, firstly, Oliver Cromwell (1566–1658), a significant and controversial figure in British political history who, in the later part of his life became a general and, ultimately, Head of State of England as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. The second subject is his son Richard Cromwell (1626–1712), also a politician, who served as the second and final Lord Protector. The panel representing Oliver Cromwell is inscribed with the date of 1653, the year of his ascension as Lord Protector. Although depicting figures of seventeenth century historical importance, the panels were likely made in the first half of the nineteenth century as part of a “cult of Cromwell which had swelled over Queen Victoria’s reign and had secured his widespread recognition as the greatest figure in English history,”1 leading to the production of commemorative Cromwelliana. Nevertheless, very high quality large scale sculptural depictions are very rare.

The main impetus, was arguably the 1845 publication of Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches by Thomas Carlyle, the foremost thinker of the mid-nineteenth century. The work “had ‘completely reversed’ the verdict of history…which had declared him a ruthless hypocrite…[and had instead] shown the key to Cromwell’s conduct to lie in the sincerity and intensity of [his] Puritan convictions.”2 

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.