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Portrait Gallery, of the British Museum, of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, and of the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. 4 l
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 see 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 Russell, to the following effect:—
" This picture was purchased January 1791 / 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. Ireton, 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 :—
' ' ' I ‘ "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 mot-her was / waiting woman to Mrs. Ireton, the Daughter of I Oliver—that she married
Mr. Story who was / private messenger to Oliver—thnt his Exrcutor/ “d not he 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. / Ireton 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 by/ 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 / amongst the Furniture sd if he had known there / had been such a picture of Cromwell, he sd have thought] it his duty to hnve sold it amongst Antiquities had / Mr. Gerrard advised him to do so that he might have/ made the most of the effects-That Mrs. Story was n / servant to Mrs. lrelon—that she lived with her Husbdf (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 shewed me the picture of/ ‘ * * / * is a very good picture but " / " Bed Room- He sd it was left” " / “ * (llere 1/1 lines 0/ 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 Fleetwood. There exists, however, in the possession of the Rev. A. W. 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 areiaccurate, 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—to represent the great Oliver himself. If this view be 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 Bust ascribed to Berni/zzi. 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 Protectorbelonging to Mrs. Beadnell, but now in the care of Mr. Drabble, of Sundridge, near Sevenoaks. l 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,
if so, it must be taken as a merely ideal portrait, a view which receives corroboration in its unlikeness to any of Oliver’s pictures which have come down to us. In strictness, therefore, this bust ought to find no place amongst the illustrations to the present work; but, as it is possible that something may be said in opposition to my argument, it seems desirable to give any of my readers who have not seen the original the opportunity of judging for themselves of the general appearance of this work of art.
3. The Drawing by Samuel Cooper in the Dulce of Devoms'hire’s collection is the original from which Houbraken engraved his portrait of Cromwell, and from which the oil-painting by an unknown hand in the Earl of Sandwich’s collection at Hinchingbrooke appears to have been taken.
4. The Portraits of liicharcl and Henry Cromwell. Searching in the Print Room of the British Museum for guidance, I found that whilst prints professing to represent Richard Cromwell, either dated many years after the Protectorate came to an end, or produced on the Continent at an earlier date, gave a variety of expressions to the second Protector, there are two engravings issued by different London publishers during Richard’s short term of oflice, which give him the identical features of a long thin face. I have, therefore, thought myself at liberty to set aside the names of Henry and Richard on the metal labels attached to the miniatures now in the Duke of Buccleuch’s collection, and to attribute to Richard the representation with a long face and to Henry that with the fuller one, especially as this attribution is fairly supported by the Chequers Court portraits of the two brothers.
5. The first Duke of Hamilton. The likeness in the portrait by Vandyke here given is borne out by the prints at the British Museum. There is a portrait at Hamilton Palace said to represent the Duke as a young man.
6. It must be acknowledged that the portrait given as that of Bradshaw has painted in the upper corners A"° 1648 /Em‘ 68, and that unless this inscription were added by some one of a later generation, as is frequently the case, it would be fatal to the ascription of the picture to Bradshaw, who was born in 1602, which was also the birth-year of Henry Marten. The traditional ascription of the two portraits, which bear some resemblance to one another, can therefore only be accepted with hesitation.
7. The portrait of Cromwell at Hinchingbrooke by \/Valker was evidently taken
at a younger age than that at which he is usually represented, but the armour seems to indicate a date after the commencement of the Civil war, whilst in the Althorp portrait also by Walker used as the frontispiece, which corresponds very closely to the one by the same artist in the National Portrait Gallery, the staff seems to indicate the period in which Cromwell was Lord General before he became Protector, and may very well have been taken after the crowning mercy of Worcester in 1651.
S. The omission of any representation of Blake is due to another cause. I cannot persuade myself—and in this I am supported by the high authority of Mr. Cust—that any genuine portrait of the Admiral is in existence. All those I know of show him as wearing the cravat, and though that article of dress was already in use in France, and may appear in portraits of English Royalists in exile on the Continent. there is everything to lead us to suppose that it was not to be seen on any Puritan Englishman as early as the first months of 1656, when Blake sailed on the voyage from which he never returned alive. The Wadham portrait, moreover, is that of a comparatively young man, and, if genuine, could hardly have been taken much after 1629, when the future admiral attained his thirtieth year. The first mention of the word “Cravat” quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary is from Blount’s Glossography, 1656, where it is explained as “ a new-fashioned gorget which women wear.” The absence of any likeness of Blake on his Naval Reward, whilst Cromwell, Tromp, and even Bulstrode Whitelocke, have their features shown on similar productions, seems to show that he had a rooted aversion to have his likeness perpetuated.