Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen: The Capel family (1640)


(National Portrait Gallery, London, UK)

A painting by the Dutch artist Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen (1583-1661). Depicted here are Arthur Capell, 1st Baron Capell of Hadham, his wife Elizabeth Morrison and their five children. Arthur Capell married Elizabeth in 1627 and became one of the wealthiest men in England. He was a supporter of the Royalist cause in the English civil war (1642–1651) and was executed on the orders of the English parliament in 1649. Depicted from left to right:

- Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex (1631-1683), Soldier; Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and First Lord of the Treasury; son of 1st Baron Capel. He was discovered in his chamber with his throat cut whilst a prisoner awaiting execution for treason - officially is was marked as suicide but that conclusion is controversial.

- Charles Capel (died 1656 or 1657), Son of 1st Baron Capel.


- Arthur Capel, 1st Baron Capel (1604-1649), Writer, royalist and politician; MP for Hertfordshire
- Elizabeth, Lady Capel (died 1661), Wife of 1st Baron Capel

- Henry Capel, Baron Capel of Tewkesbury (1638-1696), Establisher of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, politician and government official; son of 1st Baron Capel.

- Elizabeth, Countess of Carnarvon (1633-1678), a talented botanical artist, Wife of Charles Dormer, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon; daughter of 1st Baron Capel

- Mary, Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), Horticulturist; wife of 1st Duke of Beaufort; daughter of 1st Baron Capel.

The painting was probably commissioned to mark Arthur Capel's appointment as Baron Capel in 1640. The family is depicted posing in front of their formal garden at Little Hadham as they all shared an interest in horticulture. Painting from 1640.

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