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The Capel Family

1 of 3 portraits of Henry Capel, Baron Capel of Tewkesbury

The Capel Family, by Cornelius Johnson (Jonson or Jonson van Ceulen), circa 1640 - NPG 4759 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The Capel Family

by Cornelius Johnson (Jonson or Jonson van Ceulen)
oil on canvas, circa 1640
63 in. x 102 in. (1600 mm x 2591 mm)
Purchased with help from The Art Fund, 1970
Primary Collection
NPG 4759


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A member of the Long Parliament, Lord Capel was so shocked by the violence of the opinions predominant there that he became a loyal supporter of the King. He escorted Queen Henrietta Maria to France in 1646, and helped Charles to escape briefly in 1647. He was taken prisoner in 1648 and executed in the Tower. His eldest son Arthur fought as a twelve-year-old in the Royalist army. After the Restoration, his anti-Catholic views led him to oppose the accession of James II and participate in the Duke of Monmouth's schemes. Imprisoned in the Tower, he died there in suspicious circumstances. Henry Capel also supported the attempt to exclude James II and subsequently held office under William III. He is responsible for establishing a garden at Kew. His sister Elizabeth was a talented botanical artist and Mary became a distinguished horticulturalist. Appropriately, the Capels are pictured here posing in front of their formal garden at Little Hadham. The composition of Johnson's group is influenced by Van Dyck's Charles I and Henrietta Maria with their two Eldest Children (Royal Collection, 1632).

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