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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Cromwell image sells for 532,000
Oliver Cromwell portrait (Sotheby's/PA Wire Copyright in this image shall remain vested in Sotheby's)
It is one of a handful of portraits completed in Cromwell's lifetime
What is thought to be the definitive "warts and all" portrait of Oliver Cromwell has been sold for 535,200 to a Warwickshire art gallery at auction.

The 1657 painting depicting the man who overthrew the British monarchy was sold to Compton Verney for five times the guide price at Sotheby's in London.

The Harcourt Miniature is believed to be the image from which all later portrayals of Cromwell were derived.

The painting is by his favourite artist, Samuel Cooper.

Use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me and not flatter me at all
Oliver Cromwell

Sotheby's said the price for the oval 10cm by 8cm picture, which includes the premium, was the highest ever achieved on this side of the Atlantic for a miniature.

At almost $1.07m at current exchange rates, it is close to the all-time record for a miniature - the $1.2m fetched by a portrait of George Washington in 2001.

The miniature, based on a sketch Cooper made from life in 1653, the year Cromwell became Lord Protector, is one of a handful of portraits of him completed during his lifetime.

Only two of Cooper's portraits of Cromwell survive, of which the Harcourt Miniature is the more highly finished, Sotheby's said.

On loan

Cromwell is credited with having coined the phrase "warts and all" when sitting for a portrait.

He told the artist: "Use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me and not flatter me at all, but... remark all these ruffness, pimples, warts and everything as you see me."

Part of the collection of the Harcourt family, the painting has been on loan to the Museum of London for half a century.

It is now destined to go on show at the Compton Verney gallery after being secured by dealers Browse & Darby.

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