Key Collections

The Cromwell Museum is home to the best collection in the world of items relating to Oliver Cromwell. We have a collection of nearly a thousand objects including paintings and works of art, arms and armour, personal items, written and printed documents, coins and medals and commemorative items relating to Cromwell’s life and times.

Around 70% of our collection belongs to the Museum; 10% is kindly loaned to us by other museums and institutions including the Royal Armouries, Cambridgeshire Archives and the Museum of London.

Just under 20% of our collection is on long term loan to us from the Bush family, Cromwell’s immediate descendants. We are very grateful for their ongoing support and kindness in sharing their incredible collection of items which have been handed down through the family over the last 370 years.

This section provides more information about just some of the highlights of the collection; most of the items here are part of our regular displays. We aim to be able to have a comprehensive searchable database of the entire collection accessible via this website over the next couple of years.

About a third of the Museum’s collection is on display at any one time; we welcome enquiries to view other items not currently on show by appointment. Please contact us for more details.

‘Cromwell Contemplating the Corpse of the King’ by Dave Brown, 2006.

A pastiche of Paul Delaroche’s painting of ‘Cromwell gazing at the body of Charles I’ (1831), used to lampoon the relationship between Labour politicians Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, depicted as Cromwell and Charles I respectively, by cartoonist Dave Brown (b.1957) for The Independent. Cromwell has been the subject of political cartoons for over 300 years, many satirising his government, depicted in person, or used to poke fun at later politicians. The Cromwell Museum has a collection of these cartoons, from ‘Punch’ to modern newspapers.

Huntingdon Railway Poster, c. 1950.

Copy of a 1950s British Railways poster promoting Huntingdon to visitors, using Cromwell in front of what is now the Museum as it’s key image. This was part of a series of posters promoting rail travel to historic towns produced in this period, here drawn by the artist Lance Cattermole. As delightful as the image is, it is also historically inaccurate! The Museum building was covered in Tudor brick in Cromwell’s time; his troops did not wear strip ‘rugby shirt’ style coats, nor is Cromwell’s cavalry standard correct… but it is an iconic image nonetheless!

Cromwell and Charles I: English Bronze Figures, late 1800s.

Pair of bronze figures depicting Cromwell and Charles I. As is common with these pairs, they are shown of equal height in order to provide balance when displayed on a mantelpiece; in reality Cromwell was significantly taller than Charles.

Cromwell and Marston Moor Commemorative Jug, 1994.

Jug produced by Royal Doulton for the 350th anniversary of the battle of Marston Moor in 1994 of Cromwell’s head with the figures of Fairfax (left) and Charles I (right) as handles.

Wedgewood Portrait Medallion, c. 1840.

Wedgewood produced several different portrait medallions of Cromwell. This blue & white ware, based on a portrait by Samuel Cooper, dates to c.1840 but was manufactured over a long period.

Bust of Oliver Cromwell, after Joseph Wilton, 19th Century.

Thought to be a copy of an earlier bust by Joseph Wilton, this marble bust depicts Cromwell in armour as a commanding figure as Lord Protector.

Powder Flask, c. 1655.

A 17th century ivory gunpowder or priming flask with a silver nozzle, inlaid with mother of pearl and amber, which is believed to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. It has the monogrammed initials O.C. in the shape of sun and moon which appears in several pieces of Protectorate iconography. It may have been given to Cromwell as a gift whilst he was Lord Protector. Long Term Private Loan.

Leather Gaiters, c. 1650.

Pair of 17th century black leather gaiters with a cut out and embossed decoration. Said to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

Spurs, c. 1640.

Pair of brass spurs decorated in relief with fleur-de-lys style decoration, dating c.1640-1650. Believed to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

Travelling Apothecary’s Cabinet, c. 1600.

German-made apothecary’s chest made by Nicholaus Kolb of Augsburg (1555-1621) and containing instruments for making up and dispensing medicines as well as for bloodletting. It has silver gilt containers that would have held unguents, medicines and ingredients. It is designed to be locked shut for easy transport. This cabinet belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

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