Oliver Cromwell ‘death mask’ goes on display in Huntingdon

12:46 03 April 2014

Oliver Cromwell mask

Oliver Cromwell mask

Archant

A mask of Oliver Cromwell, thought to be a copy of a bust which appeared at his funeral, has gone on display in Huntingdon.

The Cromwell Museum is hosting Cromwell Curios, a new exhibition of objects from a collection of items on loan from a private collector who lives abroad.

Museum curator John Goldsmith said: “Perhaps the most fascinating object is a mask of Cromwell, believed to be a copy from the bust used for the figure of the Lord Protector, that was the focus of his state funeral at Westminster Abbey in 1658.

“The mask was at one time on loan to Newburgh Priory in Yorkshire, where, it was shown on what some believe to be is the tomb of Cromwell’s headless corpse.

“Objects that can be proved, beyond all reasonable doubt, to have been owned, used or even touched by Oliver Cromwell are extraordinarily rare.”

Also on show is a pair of gloves, thought to have been a gift from “a gentleman of Huntingdon” in 1704. They were exhibited in Cambridge in 1911 but as far as it is known they have never been shown to the public in Huntingdon.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet member for education and learning, Councillor David Harty, said: “We’re delighted to be able to show these objects to visitors to the museum and we’re grateful that private lenders are willing to share their collections with us.”

INFORMATION: The exhibition started on April 2 and continues until August 3. The museum is open from 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-4pm Tuesday-Sunday. Entry is free.

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