Cromwell rose to prominence in the committees of the House of Commons and fought in the early campaigns of the Civil Wars of Britain (1639–1651) under the Parliamentarian Earl of Essex. In 1644 he commanded the Eastern Association’s cavalry at the Battle of Marston Moor; in 1645 he led the cavalry of the newly-formed New Model Army at Naseby.
By the time of the execution of Charles I in 1649, Cromwell had become the foremost general in the New Model Army. He gained great prestige with victories at the Battles of Preston, Dunbar and Worcester. This was not diminished by his harsh campaign in Ireland (1649–1650), marked by the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford. In 1653 Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, a position he held until his death in 1658.
This portrait has suffered as a result of Cromwell’s controversial career, having been slashed across the face.
Where to see this painting?
National Army Museum
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