© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Unknown artistline engraving, published 16284 3/4 in. x 3 in. (122 mm x 77 mm) paper sizePurchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966NPG D11140
Back to main page
Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.
If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.
Please note that we cannot provide valuations.
We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.
Hubert van Onna
08 September 2018, 10:23
Summer 1604, Drebbel moved from The Netherlands to Londen, where he stayed, except for a two year 1610-1613- stay at the court of emperor Rudolf II in Prague, till his death in November 1633.
23 August 2018, 08:19
Cornelis Drebbel born - probably in the year 1572 - in the city of Alkmaar (Netherlands) at Dronckenoort in the second house from the corner of the Huigh-de-brouwer steegh.
Drebbel: great innovator !
The Edison of his time; Brilliant empiric researcher and innovator, Drebbel’s constructions and innovations cover in particular measurement- and control technology, pneumatics, optics, chemistry hydraulics and pyrotechnics. With Staten General he registers several patents: writes some interesting essays about his experiments with air pressure. Makes beautiful engravings; the subject The Seven Liberal Arts en a map of the city of Alkmaar.
Measurement- and control technology & pneumatics: Famous for his Perpetuum Mobile, builds and navigates with a submarine. Builds an incubator for eggs and a portable stove/oven with an optimal use of fuel, able to keep the heat on a constant temperature by means of a regulator/thermostat. Designs a solar energy system for London (perpetual fire), demonstrates air-conditioning, let it rain, makes lightning and thunder ‘on command’, develops fountains, fresh water supply for the city of Middelburg. Involved in the draining of the moors around Cambridge (the Fens). Develops predecessors of the barometer and thermometer, the "Drebbeliaensch instrument", harpsichords that play on solar energy.
Ars Volandi was the last Invention in pursuit of which Drebbel died. Drebbel developed a paper kite that could fly when there was no wind and he had a way to let it come down softly on Sea or Land.
Optics: Develops an automatic precision lens-grinding machine, builds improved telescopes, constructs the first microscope ('lunette de Dreubells'), camera obscura, laterna magica, manufactures Dutch or Batavian tears, the predecessor of safety glass.
Chemistry: Develops an innovative way to improve and produce scarlet red dye, establishes a dye works in Stratford-at-Bow-on-Lea. Develops a methodology to regain silver ore. Makes -probably- oxygen for his submarine. Able to change salt water into potable water.
Hydraulics: Makes theater props, moving statues. Is involved in plans to build a new theater in London. A weigh-lifting engine for lifting sunken treasure-ship.
Pyrotechnics: produces torpedos and sea mines and a detonator with Batavian tears, uses fulminating mercury -aurum fulminarum- as an explosive.
Drebbel: wonderworker "The idea of Drebbel as a universal wonderworker was as widespread in the seventeenth century as the idea of Einstein as a genius is today." writes Dr. Vera Keller in her dissertation ‘Cornelis Drebbel, Fame and the Making of Modernity.’ (Princeton University, Sept. 2009)
There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.
How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.
The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.
Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.
If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.
Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.
Newsletter sign up Join & Support
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HESwitchboard: +44 (0) 20 7306 0055
Open daily 10:00-18:00Friday Lates until 21:00
About the Gallery
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Switchboard: +44 (0) 20 7306 0055