This morning I stumbled upon these incredible woodcuts. One depicts the interior of Parliament in 1641, the other, the execution on Tower Hill of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, also in 1641. Clicking on an image should open a larger file to view.


  • February 11, 2012 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou for the introduction as I have arrived at Holy Trinity Minories July 1655. My Great Grandfather, a Soldier, his son being christened. This really helps to sense the environment of that time. 1641 he would have been eleven years old. There’s a story there….

  • RichardB
    February 8, 2012 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see how large the Tower looms on the 1640s skyline in the Strafford image. Whether it’s technically accurate or not, this is presumably indicative of its presence in the city’s consciousness. Would it be painted white at this point too?

  • February 6, 2012 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

    These prints and others by Hollar of 1640s London are fantastically evocative. The British Museum has a good selection online:


    @msspurlock – it may be a point of argument as to whether Oliver Cromwell had a lust for power or the trappings of kingship (I would disagree), but he had little involvement in the trial and execution of Strafford. This was the result of complex machinations by the axis of disaffected peers and MPs surrounding the earls of Warwick, Bedford, Saye and Sele, and John Pym. While Cromwell had begun to have links with this group in the early 1640s he was still a minor MP who made little impression on events in Westminster. If you want an example of deliberate provocation on his part in this period then his capture of the silver plate en route from Cambridge colleges to the king’s war chest at York is a much better example.

  • February 6, 2012 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    That’s how you knew you had REALLY ticked someone off. When you’re nobility, but they execute you outside the Tower walls. The Bill of Attainder and the killing of Wentworth was Cromwell’s deliberate provocation, a step toward satisfying his lust for power and triggering war in Ireland. People try to portray him as a hero because he was anti-monarchy, but the truth is far sadder. He just wanted to be king by a different name.

  • Anonymous
    February 6, 2012 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Theae are etchings rather than woodcuts (both by Wenceslaus Hollar). Also the image of the trial of Strafford is of Parliament sitting as a court in Westminster Hall, rather than sitting as legislature in either the Lords or Commons chamber.

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