Cornelis Tromp was a Dutch admiral in the early years of Holland’s independence from Spain. The son of a wealthy noble and war hero, Tromp was blamed by his superior officer, Michiel de Ruyter, for a failure of nerve in a famous sea battle with England which de Ruyter only just managed to salvage despite Tromp’s blunder. Affiliated with the royalist party (the “Orangeists,” what else given his surname?) who sought to overthrow the Dutch Republic and place the scion of the royal House of Orange on the Dutch throne, Tromp was never reprimanded for his colossal mistake, which was nearly fatal to the Dutch cause, and went on to secure his place in the Dutch admiralty under Prince William of Orange when his brother-in-law, the royalist Johan Kievit, and fellow conspirators succeeded in ousting and brutally assassinating the de Witt brothers, the two main leaders of the Dutch Republic, in the streets of The Hague.
Even the reference to the color orange in association with Herr Tromp has eerie implications when you think about it!
“Tromp was a vain man, having an extremely high opinion of himself, which he never hesitated in sharing with others. He felt that, son of a famous father, he had a natural right to the position of naval hero. During his life he posed as a sitter for at least 22 paintings, a record for the 17th century, many by top artists such as Ferdinand Bol. His art possessions were displayed in his estate, that long after his death was called Trompenburgh, the manor house built in the form of a warship.
“As his wider family was among the most fanatical supporters of Orange, he participated in most of their schemes, especially those of his brother-in-law Johan Kievit, a shrewd and unscrupulous intriguer. Tromp however had no great enthusiasm for subtle plotting; later in life he came to regret many of his actions. He died in great mental anguish, convinced he would go to hell as punishment for his crimes.”