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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others – Source 3

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A picture of Cromwell’s body lying in state in 1658

(Cromwelliana: A chronological detail of events in which Oliver Cromwell was engaged from the year 1642 to his death 1658. Published by Machell Stace, Westminster, 1810)

Cromwelliana; Cromwell's body lying in state, 1658

What is this source?

This shows Oliver Cromwell after his death in September 1658. His body lay in state at Somerset House in London.


What's the background to this source?

When rulers died they were usually laid out for mourners to come and say goodbye. This was called lying in state.


It's worth knowing that...

There are a lot of details in this source that provide clues about people’s attitudes to Cromwell.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. Would you say that this picture was meant to make Cromwell look grand?
  2. What details in this source tell us about Cromwell’s power and importance?
  3. Compare this image of Cromwell with the images of James I and Elizabeth I in Gallery 2. What is similar about them? What is different about them?
  4. What overall impression does this source give of what people thought of Cromwell?