Crispijn van de Passe
Crispijn van de Passe the Elder, or de Passe (c.1564, Arnemuiden – buried 6 March 1637,Utrecht)was a Dutch publisher and engraver and founder of a dynasty of engravers comparable to the Wierix family and the Sadelers, though mostly at a more mundane commercial level. Most of their engravings were portraits, book title-pages, and the like, with relatively few grander narrative subjects. As with the other dynasties, their style is very similar, and hard to tell apart in the absence of a signature or date, or evidence of location. Many of the family could produce their own designs, and have left drawings.
Crispijn van de Passe I was born in Arnemuiden in Zeeland, and trained and worked in Antwerp, then the centre of the printmaking world, with hugely productive workshops producing work for publishers with excellent distribution arrangements throughout Europe. By 1585 he was a member of the artists’ Guild of Saint Luke, and doing work for Christopher Plantin. Much of this was work engraving the paintings of Martin de Vos, whose wife’s niece Magdalena de Bock Crispijn married. The disruptions of the Dutch Revolt scattered these artists across Northern Europe; de Passe was an Anabaptist, which made his position especially difficult. He first moved to Aachen, until Protestants were also expelled from there. He started his own engraving and publishing business in Cologne in 1589, but again was forced to leave in 1611. He set up in business in Utrecht, by about 1612, where he created engravings for the English and other markets, and where he died in 1637. His works include a famous rendition of the English Gunpowder Plotters, although it is not known what basis he had for the likenesses.
The family’s prints are not rare and are well represented in most print rooms, and the National Portrait Gallery in London.