Félix Castello: The Capture of Saint Kitts (1634)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A historical piece by the Spanish artist Félix Castello (1595 – 1651). The painting shows an episode of the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–1630). The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean were French and English colonies which by 1629 had grown sufficiently to be regarded as a threat to the Spanish West Indies. A Spanish force of 4000 men led by Fadrique de Toledo, 1st Marquis of Villanueva de Valdueza, invaded both islands and destroyed the French and English forts and settlements. When peace was settled a year later in 1630 both islands were given back to France and England and both countries used the islands as their premier base for expansion into the Caribbean. Fadrique de Toledo is the man with the hat and pointing to the left to the Spanish forces, the man directly next to him is probably don Pedro de Osorio, the 'Maestre de campo' (chief of staff) of the Spanish force. This painting was made for the Salón de Reinos of the Buen Retiro Palace for king Philip IV of Spain. Painting from 1634.