Monday 24th June 2013

Salon - 1649

1649 was a pivotal year. The English public - having tired of a King who had raised taxes for wars and spent it on art - upped and executed him. It was the start of the Interregnum, Oliver Cromwell was top dog and a very confused English psyche began to unfold. What drove a measured and revolution-adverse nation to such action? We wanted to know and so on the 24th June we’re going to Salon like its 1649.  

Whatever your feelings towards the monarchy, come to Banqueting House, Whitehall, recline under the Rubens’ ceiling, and study the awe-inspiring masterpiece in detail. Historic Royal Palaces’ Collections Curator, Brett Dolman, will give a unique artistic perspective on the tricky but essential concept of the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ depicted there.

Stuart Clark, described by The Independent as a UK star of astrophysics teaching (alongside Stephen Hawking) will be on hand to explain the scientific world of 1649.  Having undertaken extensive research for his acclaimed historical fiction series based in this period, no one is better qualified to explain where science was at in the mid 17th century, and how new ideas were beginning to remodel the minds and hearts of the people of England. 

And finally we will be presenting an audience with Oliver Cromwell himself. Exhumed, and not for the first time, Cromwell will answer any questions you might have about his role in this seditious and fascinating period in England’s history.  You can decide for yourself if he was a regicidal dictator or hero of liberty.  Or something else entirely – this is your Salon after all.   And while you make up your mind classical music expert Jane Cockcroft will playing a DJ set of music from 1649.  

To party like it's 1649, please click here.



  • Oliver Cromwell

    Oliver Cromwell

    Salon 1649

      Oliver Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in the history of England. Born into the middle gentry, Cromwell was relatively obscure for the first 40 years of his life. After undergoing a religious conversion in the . . .
  • Stuart Clark

    Stuart Clark

    Science - 1649

      Stuart Clark is a widely read and respected astronomy journalist. His career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is . . .
  • Brett Dolman

    Brett Dolman


    Brett Dolman is an historian and art historian, specialising in the material culture and political history of the English court from the 16th to the 18th centuries. He is Curator of Collections at Historic Royal Palaces, based at Hampton . . .
  • Jane Cockcroft

    Jane Cockcroft

    Classical DJ set circa 1649.

    With a professional background in museum education and heritage interpretation and influenced by her other life as a now very part-time cellist, Jane loves finding innovative ways of interpreting spaces, places and historic objects, . . .