Jan de Bray: Portrait of Abraham Casteleyn and his wife Margarieta van Bancken (1663)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The man on this painting is Abraham Casteleyn. printer in Haarlem from 1656-1680. He is the founder of the newspaper Haerlemse Courant, one of the oldest newspapers in the world which still exist. The newspaper was started on 8 Januari 1656 as "Weeckelycke Courante van Europa", and was a newspaper which came out every Saturday with all kind of news from Europe. In 1658 a tuesday edition was added and in 1664 the paper was renamed to 'Oprechte Haarlemsche Courant'. The company was managed by Castelyen and his wife Margarieta van Bancken, who continued the company after the death of her husband. The printing house of Casteleyn was taken over by Izaak Enschedé and his son Johannes Enschedé in 1737 and renamed it to "Joh. Enschedé" under which name this also still exists. The newspaper of Casteleyn was very popular in The Netherlands and inspired others to start a similar thing. The painting itself has all kind of references to the profession of Casteleyn. the bust in the background is that of Laurens Janszoon Coster of Haarlem, thought to be the inventor of printing press in the Netherlands. Notice also the letter A on the bust - the first letter of the alphabet and also a reference to the profession of Casteleyn. Both were married for 2 years when this painting was done and their happiness is really showing. The holding of the hands is a sign of marital fidelity. The vine besides Margarieta is also a reference to marital fidelity. This painting was done in 1663.

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