Oliver Cromwell's Death Mask

This is Oliver Cromwell’s death mask, a rather macabre exhibit I saw displayed at Warwick Castle. Someone was tasked with placing wax on his deceased face, creating a mould. This could then be placed in wet plaster with a harder image being created when it dried out. Several plaster casts exist, though I believe the original wax is lost.

Death masks give us a real likeness of the person, not that Cromwell encouraged his artists to embellish his appearance. It also gives us a glimpse into their state of mind when death finally called. Oliver looks peaceful. He knew his Saviour awaited him.

Creating death masks is not something considered acceptable in our day. I cannot but wonder at the state of my face when the moment comes. I’d like to think I die smiling- death for the Christian is a pleasure. If that’s too much to ask, a simple Cromwellian look of contentment will suffice.