OLIVER CROMWELL — “The death mask is of wax and is in the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities at the British Museum; it belongs to the oldest treasures of the Museum, and I could learn nothing there concerning its origin. The National Portrait Gallery in London has another specimen in plaster, not absolutely identical. A third, likewise in plaster, is kept in the famous collection of death masks in the library of Princeton University, N.J., and belonged formerly to Laurence Hutton. According to an unauthenticated tradition this last-named mask is said to have formed part of the estate of the Cromwell family. Richard Cromwell, the son of the Lord Protector (d. 1712), left it to his daughter Elizabeth, who bequeathed the relic to her cousins Richard and Thomas; after the death of Thomas we hear of it in the possession of his three daughters, Anne, Elizabeth, and Lucretia. In 1802 it is known to have been in the hands of Oliver Cromwell, junior (1742-1821), who entrusted it to his daughter Elizabeth Oliveria; she married Thomas Artemidorus Russell in 1801, and he sold the mask to America in 1859. (Laurence Hutton: A Collection of Death Masks, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, November 1892, pp. 904-906.)”“Some facts concerning the subsequent fate of Oliver Cromwell’s mortal remains are not without interest. After the restoration of the Stuarts, under Charles II., the House of Commons resolved unanimously that Cromwell’s body (and those of his most faithful followers, Ireton and Bradshaw) should be torn from their graves on January 30, 1661, the twelfth anniversary of King Charles I.’s execution; it was dragged on a sleigh to Tyburn, the place of execution in ancient London (somewhere about the situation of the Marble Arch), wrapped in a shroud and hanged on the gallows by the executioner. After the body had swung there for a whole day it was taken down the following day, the head was cut off, the trunk buried beneath the gallows, but the head stuck on a pole on the battlements of Westminster Hall, where it is said to have remained on view for thirty years.”
“(John Morley: Oliver Cromwell, London, 1919, pp. 507 ff.) Photograph by Messrs. Fleming, London.”
Black & White Photos and quotations from: Benkard, Ernst, & Green, Margaret (1927). Undying Faces, A Collection of Death Masks. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Crowmwell’s Famous Warts:
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