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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others – Source 1

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Portrait of Oliver Cromwell, c.1655

(National Portrait Gallery, London: 5274)

 
NPG5274; portrait of Oliver Cromwell, c. 1655
 

What is this source?

Samuel Cooper painted this portrait of Oliver Cromwell.

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What’s the background to this source?

Rulers often used portraits of themselves as a form of propaganda.

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It's worth knowing that...

Cromwell had a reputation for being uninterested in decoration and portraits used as propaganda.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. Would you say that this portrait was an example of propaganda?
  2. Cromwell had a reputation for wanting people to take him as they found him, rather than trying to impress them. Does this source help us to decide whether that reputation was true?
  3. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?
  4. How does this image of Cromwell compare with other images? You can find a large collection by going to the National Portrait Gallery website (www.npg.org.uk/live/search/) and doing a search on Oliver Cromwell.