The Capel Family
1 of 12 portraits of Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex
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
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- Cornelius Johnson (Jonson or Jonson van Ceulen) (1593-1661), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 136 portraits, Sitter associated with 3 portraits.
Sittersback to top
- Mary, Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), Wife of 1st Duke of Beaufort. 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. 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 Capell. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Elizabeth, Countess of Carnarvon (1633-1678), Wife of 2nd Earl of Carnarvon. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex (1631-1683), Soldier. Sitter in 12 portraits.
This portraitback to top
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).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- I-Spy National Portrait Gallery, 2010, p. 19
- 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, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 32
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 20
- 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
- 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
See this portrait
On display in Room 5 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Cornelius Johnson: Charles I’s Forgotten Painter
Until 13 September