30 November 2018

JVDPPP finds new information on the second Surveyor of the King’s Pictures and Van Dyck copyist Jan Van Belcamp

This week the JVDPPP has published the 1651 Will of the painter Jan Van Belcamp. This newly-discovered source contains a wealth of previously unknown biographical information and paintings.  Belcamp’s life has only been known in outline. He was the King’s in-house copyist ‘in little’ and succeeded Abraham Van Der Doort as Keeper of the King’s Pictures in 1640. Appointed Commissioner for the sale of the Late King’s Goods in 1649, he acquired several paintings including Leonardo Da Vinci’s St John the Baptist, now in the Louvre, in lieu of £275 owed to him by the King. Remarkably, the will makes claim to a further £1,145 from the King’s Goods, and describes seven paintings by Belcamp hanging in his house, including a copy of Van Dyck’s ‘Great Peece’, adding significantly to the artist’s known oeuvre. Named beneficiaries reveal his links with the Netherlandish merchant community in London, the Dutch Ambassador, Puritan Anglican clergy and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, and show Belcamp to have been a meticulous and exacting businessman. His property also includes land in Ireland forfeited by its owners in the Irish Rebellion 1641. Belcamp bequeaths this estate to his relatives in Holland, with the proviso that any possessor will be disinherited if they marry ‘into the Irish blood.’ The appendix detailing this inheritance is a particularly rich part of the document, listing twelve members of Belcamp’s extended family by name.

John Belcamp’s will (detail of a copy made on or after 31st December 1651 – TNA PROB 10/739)

Click here to see Belcamp’s will on the JVDPPP website.

James Innes-Mulraine

How to cite: Innes-Mulraine, James, edited by Davies, Justin. “JVDPPP finds new information on the second Surveyor of the King’s Pictures and Van Dyck copyist Jan Van Belcamp” In Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project.
jordaensvandyck.org/new-information-jan-van-belcamp/(accessed 5 October 2023)

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