Ernest Crofts, R.A. (British, 1847-1911)

Roundheads at the Gate


Ernest Crofts, R.A. (British, 1847-1911), Roundheads at the Gate, oil on canvas, signed and dated ‘E.Crofts 1894’ (lower left), 32.5″ x 24.5″

Ernest Crofts was one of the leading military-historical painters of the late Victorian Era, exhibiting over 40 paintings at the Royal Academy. Many of his images portray the events surrounding the Waterloo campaign. Rather than sweeping panoramic battle scenes, the series of Waterloo paintings were incredibly detailed and accurate, depicting very specific moments in the battle. It was this attention to detail that brought the artist to the attention of many art critics.

Crofts was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1878; and in 1896 he was selected to become a full Academician, the only late nineteenth century military artist to achieve this honor. Two years later he was also chosen to be keeper and trustee of the Royal Academy, which provided him the privilege of residing at the Academy.

“Roundhead” was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers (Royalists), who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings.