Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pass, Simon

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946366Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 43 — Pass, Simon1895Lionel Henry Cust

PASS (VAN DE PAS or PASSE, PASSÆUS), SIMON (1595?–1647), and WILLIAM (1598?–1637?), engravers, were sons of Crispin (or Crispiaen) van de Pas (or Passe) (1565?–1637), a famous engraver in the Netherlands, whose works found a ready market in Holland, France, and England. The father, apparently a native of Arnemuÿden, near Middelburg, resided in Cologne from 1594 till 1612, when he permanently settled in Utrecht. By his wife, Magdalena de Bock, he had eight children, and he brought up his three sons and one daughter to practise as engravers. The second son, Crispin (1597?–1667?), found employment in Paris, and later at Amsterdam; while Simon, the eldest son, and William, the third, came to England.

Simon, born about 1595 at Cologne, was educated by his father there, and removed with him to Utrecht in 1612. His earliest works, including a portrait of Henry, prince of Wales, are dated in that year; a small portrait of Sir Thomas Overbury [q. v.] belongs to 1613, and a few other engravings, including a portrait of Goltzius, to 1614. In 1616 he appears to have settled in London, engraving in that year an equestrian portrait of Anne of Denmark, with portraits of various courtiers. He continued to produce similar engravings up to 1622, contributing to the ‘Baziliωlogia’ in 1618, and ‘Herωologia’ in 1622 [see Holland, Henry, 1583–1650?]. Pass is sometimes reckoned the earliest copperplate engraver in England. He had certainly been preceded, among others, by William Rogers [q. v.] Renold Elstracke [q. v.] and Francis Delaram [q. v.] But Elstracke's engravings are so very similar to those of the Van de Pas family that it may reasonably be conjectured that he learned his art in the school of the elder Van de Pas at Cologne or Utrecht. The same may be said of Delaram; and both may possibly have worked together with Pass in England as members of the same firm. The commercial activity of the Van de Pas family undoubtedly gave the first real impetus to the art of copperplate engraving in England; Simon Pass's work being well continued by his pupils, John Payne (d. 1647?) [q. v.] and David Loggan [q. v.] In 1622 Pass received a commission to go to the court of the king of Denmark at Copenhagen. Here he was appointed principal engraver to the king and resided until his death, which took place some time before 15 July 1647. He appears to have been unmarried.

William (Willem) Van de Pas (or Passe) (1598?–1637), third son of Crispin van de Pas the elder, was born at Cologne about 1598, and, like his brothers, educated by his father at Utrecht. Up to 1620 he worked with his father there, but in 1621 he settled in London, probably in consequence of his brother Simon's approaching removal to Copenhagen. He produced several portraits, including some large groups of the families of James I and Frederick, king of Bohemia, and also title-pages and book illustrations. He contributed to the ‘Herωologia.’ He was married before he came to England, and appears to have been, as all his family probably were, of the Mennonite persuasion; for on 6 April 1624 he went through the ceremony of baptism, being aged 26, at the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London. He baptised a son Crispin, the third of the name, at the same church, on 8 April 1624, and a daughter Elisabeth on 25 Sept. 1625. He was living in London in October 1636, but was dead before 7 Dec. 1637, when in a family deed mention is made of his orphan son.

[Franken's L'Œuvre Gravé des Van de Passe; Oud Holland, iii. 305, 306, x. 97; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Dodd's manuscript Hist. of English Engravers (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 33403).]

L. C.