An Interview between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, 1836
Oil on canvas, 184 x 235 cm
Purchased, Mr W. Dugdale, 1951
For this historical narrative painting Maclise invents a poignant moment in the life of Charles I, king of England. Charles I is depicted with his children, Henry and Henrietta, in the process of signing over his authority to Oliver Cromwell. The tragic king appears to comfort his children under the watchful gaze of Cromwell. Maclise portrays the royal family, dressed in glistening textiles, as pitiful figures bathed in bright light. In contrast the watchful figure of Cromwell and his attending officers are cast in dark, menacing shadow. The large void that separates the two groups emphasises this narrative of conflict and isolation.