Captain John Honnyng
b.19 Jan 1557/8
m. c. 1542
Facts and Events
In 1585, when Elizabeth committed troops to support the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, John was one of the Captains in the volunteer army mustered that summer. He commanded a 150- strong company of foot. But later in the year, once Robert DUDLEY had taken command of the army in the Netherlands, John’s name drops from the muster lists. It is in this year that the portrait of the Honnings family was painted: John is marked as dead. Perhaps he died in the Netherlands, where the attrition was very high – more from disease than combat – and the family portrait was commissioned to mark this loss. He would have been 27 at the time. One version of John’s portrait has the battle scene marked as ARNAM, where a futile battle, lead by Sir John NORRIS, was fought in October 1585.
In the Honnyng family portrait, John is pictured as a bearded man, with longer hair than any of his bretheren; a small falling collar, and a close dress of black and red parallel stripes, crossed by a sword belt depending from his right shoulder; in his right hand he holds a halbert, and in his left a cap; in the corner is a landscape of a mountainous sea coast, with a ship and boat, and above his head the family inscription; his shield has the red cross.
A similar painting in the Victoria and Albert Museum: “Portrait of Captain John HUNNYNGE. England, 16th century. This may be a portrait of Captain John Hunnynge (1557-1586), one of the brave men the Queen sent out to The Netherlands in 1585, under the incompetent leadership of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The English forces were allies of the Dutch in their bitter struggle against their oppressive Spanish rulers."