Daniel Vertangen: Portrait of Jan Valckenburgh & Dina Lems (1660)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A set of two portrait made by the Dutch artist Daniel Vertangen (1601-1683). The two portrait show Jan Valckenburgh (1623-1667) and his wife Dina Lems (?-1675). Jan Valckenburgh was an civil servant of the Dutch West India Company ('West-Indische Compagnie' or the W.I.C.) and although he started as an assistant-trader, he eventually ended up as Director-General of the Dutch Gold Coast (the Dutch possessions on the Coast of Guinea, now Ghana). Jan Valckenburgh was Director-General twice: from end of January 1656 until May 19, 1659 and from January 17, 1663 until his death on July 8, 1667. He is shown on this painting in armour and with a commanders baton. His black servant behind him is carrying a golden medal which Jan Valckenburgh received from the West India Company for his services. The fort in the background is Elmina Castle. This castle was originally build by the Portuguese but the Dutch managed to capture the fort in 1637 and played an important role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The woman is Dina Lems, daughter of Adriaen Lems - governor of Recife in Dutch Brazil and married Jan Valckenburgh in 1649. Paintings from 1660.