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After Cromwell’s defeat of Charles I, which led to the former king’s execution in 1649, England was ruled for a time by a Parliament whose members had not been elected but rather nominated by their parishes. This “Parliament of Saints” met chiefly to discuss religious alternatives for a government without a king. The low social status of its members was ridiculed by the general populace, and its infighting caused Cromwell to dissolve the body after eight months and set himself up as a virtual monarch.
Purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1911.