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LONDON : PARIS : NEW YORK :
\VILLIAM BROWN, 26. ancss s'rnam.
nuns is, I believe, still room for a biography of Cromwell setting forth
the character of the man as it stands revealed by recent investigations.
In the selection of the illustrations 1 have to acknowledge with the
warmest gratitude the counsels given me from time to time by Mr. Lionel
Cust, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, whose knowledge of portraits
and costumes has been invaluable to me, as well as my sincere thanks for
advice and assistance rendered during the progress of the work by Mr. Bertram
F. Astley, Mr. R. B. Drabble, Mr. R. R. Holmes, Librarian to the Queen, and
I have also now the opportunity of recording the grateful appreciation of the Publishers and myself of the prompt and generous response made by all the owners of collections to whom application has been made for permission to reproduce any work of art which might serve to illustrate this volume. That this indebtedness is indeed great and widespread will be at once recognised from the following names of owners and custodians of the originals from which the illustrations have been taken :—Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the Duke of Manchester, the Duke of Hamilton, the Marquis of Lothian, Earl Spencer, the Earl of Sandwich, Lord Ribblesdale, Lord Saye and Sele, Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley, of Chequers Court; Mrs. B. M. Beadnell (née Polhill), of Sundridge, Kent; Miss Disbrowe, 0t Walton Hall, Burton-on-Trent; Mr. Edmund F. J. Deprez ; the Master and Fellows of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; the Warden of Wadham College,
Oxford; as well as the authorities of the Houses of Parliament, of the National Portrait Gallery, of the British Museum, of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, and of the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland.
Though care has been taken to secure genuine portraits, it seems desirable to lay before the reader exactly the evidence in existence where doubts may be entertained:—
1. The likeness of Cromwell as a child, from Chequers Court, cannot be regarded as absolutely certain, though I sce little reason for pronouncing against it. On the back of the panel of this picture is a note in the handwriting of Sir Thomas Frankland, who was descended from the fourth son of Elizabeth,
daughter of Cromwell's daughter, Lady Russcll, to the following ell'ectz—
"This picture was purchased January l7Ul / from Mr. Graves, Printseller in Catherine / Street, to whom Mr Gerard, the Auction-[eer, sold it many years since among / the furniture of Mr. Story, of Greek Street, [whose mother was waiting woman to / Mrs. lreton, daughter to Oliver Cromwell." (Signed) " T. F."
An earlier MS. statement is also pasted on the back of the panel, but is only
decipherable to the following extent :—
' ' ' / ' “Mr. Gerrard, auctioneer, who had ' Picture ‘ for evidence respecting/ ' '
' “ Mr. Gerrard who told me that he sold / it some years ago amongst the Furniture/ of Mr. Story, of Greek Street—whose mother was / waiting woman to Mrs. lreton, the Daughter of I Oliver—that she married Mr. Story who was / private messenger to Oliver—that his Exrcutor ,/ “d not be supposed let it be sold otherwise than / amongst Family Furniture least (Le. lest) the circumstance / of Mr. Story's having been in service should be revived—/ That the Executor still had a picture of Mrs. / lreton which he had been restrained from selling / by Mr. Story's will.
“ Same Day sent to enquire where I might see the /picture of Mrs. lreton—and was referred hy/ Mr. Gerrard to Mr. Marshall Grocer corner of/ Gt. Newport Street in Porter Street—as the Executor] of Mr. Story.
"Mr. Marshall knew nothing of the Pictures sold ,v amongst the Furniture sd if he had known there / had been such a picture of Cromwell, he stI have thought] it his duty to have sold it amongst Antiquities had / Mr. Gerrard advised him to do so that he might have/ made the most of the etchts—That Mrs. Story was a / servant to Mrs. lreton—thnt she lived with her Hush‘l/ (who had been in the King's family in the ' ' ' in ' ’ in the House he saw " ’ / whom he succeeded in the year 1755 when she died] at the age of 100 years That she was a very active wo-/ man and could go up and down stairs very ' ' / ' ' her death —He showed me the picture of] ' " ' / ' is a very good picture but ' / ‘ Bed Room. lle s it was left" ' / ' " (Here 14 lines of the MS. are illegible) ' ' / “ N.B. The above ' ' Mr. Nicholas."
. So far as this evidence goes, it traces the Chequers Court picture back to Cromwell’s eldest daughter Bridget, the wife first of Ireton, afterwards of Fleeti\\’ood. There exists, however, in the possession of the Rev. A. \\'. Headlam, of Gainford Vicarage, Darlington, another picture almost entirely similar to the one at Chequers Court, and the ownership of which can be traced back to Lady Fagg (died 1791), who married Roger Talbot, son of Frances Frankland, granddaughter of the Lady Russell mentioned above. If we assume that these two
statements are accurate, we arrive at the probable conclusion that the Chequers Court picture was originally in the hands of Mrs. Ireton; that her young sister, Lady Russell, had a duplicate copy of it; that the picture belonging to Mrs. Ireton came by purchase into the hands of the present owner of Chequers Court; whilst the other, which formerly belonged to the ancestress of that lady, is now in the hands of Mr. Headlam.
Who then is represented in the picture? It is only fair to say that Mr. Cust thinks that the dress of the child points to a date later than 1602 or 1603, though he does not express himself positively on this subject. On the other hand, a picture possessed by Cromwell’s eldest daughter, and of which a duplicate was in the hands of one of the younger ones, seems likely—as asserted by Mr. Story according to tradition—t0 represent the great Oliver himself. If this view he not accepted, as the picture at Chequers Court has painted at the bottom, “Oliver Cromwell, aged 2 years,” it may perhaps be taken as the portrait of the younger Oliver, who died in 1644, unless the inscription be set aside as being of too late a date to carry weight.
2. The Bast ascribed to Berni/Li. Of this I cannot speak with the same amount of even modified assurance. At Lord Revelstoke’s sale, the auctioneer's catalogue did not venture to ascribe it positively to Bernini, and all my subsequent efforts to connect it with that sculptor have been baffled. It seems equally improbable that Cromwell should have applied to an artist attached to the Papal Court for a representation of his own features, or that that artist should have cared to produce the likeness of the great enemy of the Papacy. The improbable, however, is not always impossible, and I did not feel authorised to reject the tradition, till my doubts were strengthened by being confronted with a cast of a bust of the Protector belonging to Mrs. Beadnell, but now in the care of Mr. Drabble, 0t Sundridge, near Sevenoaks. I was at once struck with its likeness to the one now in the Houses of Parliament. Yet it is not an exact copy, as the Dunbar Medal is replaced by a Gorgon’s head as an ornament on a shoulder belt. Mr. Drabble informed me that the cast was a present to his father-in-law, Mr. Polhill, who was descended from Ireton and Bridget Cromwell, that he did not know where the original was to be found, but that the cast was believed to have been taken by Bacon from an original by Rysbrack, who arrived in England in 1720, and is known as a prolific artist, especially in busts. It is, therefore, at least
highly probable that the bust in the Houses of Parliament is by the same hand, and,