The Capel Family
1 of 12 portraits of Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex
The Capel Family
by Cornelius Johnson
oil on canvas, circa 1640
63 in. x 102 in. (1600 mm x 2591 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 1970
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 140 portraits, Sitter associated with 3 portraits.
Sittersback to top
- Mary, Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), Horticulturist; wife of 1st Duke of Beaufort; daughter of 1st Baron Capel. Sitter in 2 portraits.
- Arthur Capel, 1st Baron Capel (1604-1649), Writer, royalist and politician; MP for Hertfordshire. Sitter associated with 21 portraits.
- 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. Sitter associated with 3 portraits.
- Elizabeth, Lady Capel (died 1661), Wife of 1st Baron Capel. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Charles Capel (died 1656 or 1657), Son of 1st Baron Capel. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Elizabeth, Countess of Carnarvon (1633-1678), Wife of Charles Dormer, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon; daughter of 1st Baron Capel. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex (1631-1683), Soldier; son of 1st Baron Capel. Sitter in 12 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Appropriately, given the horticultural interests of the Capels, the family 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).
Linked publicationsback to top
- I-Spy National Portrait Gallery, 2010, p. 19
- Audio Guide
- Bennett, Sue, Five Centuries of Women and Gardens, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 October 2000 to 21 January 2001), p. 35
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 20
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 32
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 32
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 70
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 73
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 94
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 58
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 58
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 721
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, pp. 82 - 83
Placesback to top
- Place portrayed: United Kingdom: England, Hertfordshire (sitters' home, Hadham Hall, Little Hadham, Hertfordshire)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1640back to top
Current affairsSecond Bishops' War. James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, leading the Scottish armies, occupies northeast of England. Defeat at the Battle of Newburn forces impoverished Charles to sign Treaty of Ripon.
Long Parliament. Habeas Corpus Act is passed, abolishing the Star Chamber. Impeachment of Royalists, Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud.
Art and scienceAuthor, James Howell, writes Dodona's Grove, a historical allegory of events since 1603. A renowned royalist, Howell's anti-parliamentary remarks in the book would later attract accusations from parliamentarians.
The last Caroline masque before the outbreak of civil war, Salmacida Spolia by Sir William Davenant, is performed at Whitehall Palace.
InternationalFrederick William becomes Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia. The Elector's policy of religious tolerance benefited his state during the religious struggles dominating the Thirty Years' War.
The Bay Psalm Book is published, the first book to be printed in British North America.
See this portrait
On display in Room 5 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 16 July