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.

Portrait of Elizabeth Claypole (Cromwell), circle of Sir Peter Lely, c. 1655, Oil on Canvas.

This painting shows Cromwell’s second daughter, ‘Bessie’ who married John Claypole of Northborough Manor near Peterborough. She was arguably Cromwell’s favourite child, and her death in August 1658, probably of cancer, broke her father’s heart and precipitated his own death a month later. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Lady Frances Russell (Cromwell) by John Riley, c. 1670, Oil on Canvas.

Cromwell’s youngest daughter married twice, firstly to Robert Rich in 1657, but he died only a year later. She married again to Sir John Russell in 1663, then after his death lived with her sister Mary and her family. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of John Thurloe, Circle of William Dobson, 1650s, Oil on Canvas.

Thurloe served as Secretary of State and key advisor to Oliver Cromwell; he was also Postmaster General – in effect the Protectorate’s chief spy and head of Intelligence. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Mary, Lady Fauconberg, (Cromwell), circle of Thomas Murray, c.1670, Oil on Canvas.

This is a post Restoration portrait of Cromwell’s third daughter, which is similar to a larger example at Newburgh Priory in Yorkshire, the country estate of her husband Thomas Belasyse, Lord Fauconberg. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Richard Cromwell, attributed to John Hayls, c. 1658, Oil on Canvas.

Large sized portraits of Richard are rare, so this painting is unusual. He is portrayed in armour as a symbol of power, despite the fact that Richard never saw any military service. This may therefore have been painted in the brief time he served as Lord Protector after his father’s death. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Henry Cromwell, by Christian Dusart, 1655, Oil on Canvas.

Henry, Cromwell’s youngest son, is shown here in armour as both a soldier, and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This is one of two known copies of this portrait by Dusart. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Elizabeth Cromwell, the Protectoress, by Robert Walker, c. 1655, Oil on Canvas.

This painting shows Mrs Cromwell in a fine silk dress, as befits the wife of the Lord Protector and head of state, not a role that she naturally seems to have felt comfortable with. Long Term Private Loan.

Equestrian Portrait of Oliver Cromwell, English School, c.1655, Oil on Canvas.

This again shows Cromwell wearing more elaborate clothing than the popular stereotype of him, here a grey silk velvet suit which he is known to have worn to his daughter Frances’ wedding. As well as being on shown on horseback, there is a fascinating view of London in the background, a decade before most of the buildings shown were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Long Term Private Loan.

Portrait of Oliver Cromwell, English School, late 1600s, Oil on Canvas.

This portrait of a younger and whiskered Cromwell was produced as part of a pair with the one of his wife (H0141).

Portrait of Elizabeth Cromwell, English School, late 1600s, Oil on Canvas.

This portrait is thought to be of Elizabeth Bourchier, Cromwell’s wife, as a younger woman. It seems to have been produced as a pair with the portrait of Oliver himself (H0142).

Download acrobat reader