Oliver Cromwell Statue

Oliver Cromwell Statue, London, public art, Hamo Thornycroft

Public Art : Oliver Cromwell Statue

Sculptor : © Hamo Thornycroft (9th March, 1850–18th December 1925)

Description : A bronze statue of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) , an English military and political leader, best known for his involvement in making England into a republican Commonwealth. Needless to say he was greatly despised by the Irish. Dressed in his full military attire including, sword in one hand and bible the other, he stands proudly on his granite pedestal. Note he is also wearing riding spurs which may be a little gesture by the sculptor as his nickname was "old ironsides" .

Date Unveiled: 1899

Funded by : It was rumoured that Lord Rosebery donated the statue to the Palace after the British government withdrew funding but there is no clear evidence of this.

Cost : £3000

Location: The Cromwell statue can be found in the centre of the sunken garden of the Palace of Westminster, London, England.

Background to the Cromwell Statue: Sculptor John Bell had originally put forward a model of a Cromwell statue that he had exhibited at Crystal Palace in 1862 in the hope the government would fund its completion. It was to be sculpted from Sicilian marble and cost about £700. Bell died in 1895 before a decision was made but his assistant Charles Stoath asked to complete the work. Unfortunately for Stoath the commission by that time had been given to Thornycroft at a cost of £3,000.

Controversy: During the 1890's the British Government began making plans to erect a statue of Cromwell outside Parliament. This caused outrage and anger amongst some, especially the Irish Nationalist Party, which eventually forced the withdrawal of a motion to seek any public funding for the project. When the pedestal for the statue was erected in 1899 several members of parliament protested, creating some heated debates in the House of Lords.


In 2008 the statue was restored to mark the 350th anniversary of Cromwell’s death.

In 1924 Hamo Thornycroft was the first recipient of the Royal Society of British Sculptors' gold medal.

During World War II "Cromwell" was the codeword given to warn that a German invasion of Britain was imminent.


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