Govaert van Surpele (1593 - 1674) was a native of Diest in South Brabant, where he held the post of President de la Loi in 1636/7, as well as being a member of three local militia companies. He married first Catharina Cools, who died in 1629, and then in 1636 Catharina Coninckz. The painting, which shows the van Surpele arms (top centre), probably dates from the time of Govaert's second marriage.

The composition was designed originally as a three-quarter-length portrait. In the final painting the substantial figures, shown at full length, have a commanding presence, while a domestic note is sounded by the dog crouching on the floor. Van Surpele holds upright in the centre of the painting his staff of office, to which his wife gestures with her left hand.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1593 - 1678
Full title
Portrait of Govaert van Surpele (?) and his Wife
Date made
1636-8
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
213.3 x 189 cm
Acquisition credit
Acquired from the 11th Duke of Devonshire by application of the 1956 Finance Act, 1958
Inventory number
NG6293
Location in Gallery