Brooke, Arthur de Capell (DNB00)


BROOKE, Sir ARTHUR de CAPELL (1791–1858), of Oakley Hall, Northamptonshire, author of several works of travel, was descended from a family originally settled in Cheshire, and was born in Bolton Street, Mayfair, 22 Oct. 1791. He was the eldest son of Sir Richard de Capell Brooke and Mary, only child and heiress of Major-general Richard Worge. Sir Richard, who was the first baronet, had assumed the name Brooke in accordance with his uncle's will, and adopted the name De Capell in lieu of Supple by royal license. The son was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. 20 May 1813, and M.A. 5 June 1816. On 27 Nov. 1829 he succeeded his father in the title and estates. He entered the army, and in 1846 obtained the rank of major. Much of his early life was spent in foreign travel, especially in the north of Europe. In 1823 he published 'Travels through Sweden, Norway, and Finmark to the North Pole in the Summer of 1820,' which was followed in 1827 by 'A Winter in Lapland and Sweden, with various observations relating to Finmark and its inhabitants made during a residence at Hammerfest, near the North Cape.' These volumes contained much which at the time had the interest of novelty, and a companion volume to the last work was published also in 1827, consisting of a number of splendid illustrative plates from sketches by the author, and entitled 'Winter Sketches in Lapland, or Illustrations of a Journey from Alten, on the shores of the Polar Sea, in 69°55' N. L., through Norwegian, Russian, and Swedish Lapland to Tornea, at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, intended to exhibit a complete view of the mode of travelling with reindeer, the most striking incidents that occurred during the journey, and the general character of the scenery of Lapland and Sweden.' In 1837 he published, in two volumes, 'Sketches in Spain and Morocco.' He was an original member of the Travellers' Club, and feeling strongly that latterly many of the newly elected members did not sufficiently represent the spirit of foreign travel, he, in 1821, originated the Raleigh Club, of which he was for many years president, and which became merged in the Royal Geographical Society. He was deputy-lieutenant of Northamptonshire, and in 1843 was chosen sheriff of the county. He was a member both of the Royal Society and of the Royal Geographical Society. Of a reserved and retiring disposition, he was unfitted for the strife of politics, but in his later years he took an active interest in the cause of temperance and in various benevolent and religious objects. He died at Oakley Hall 6 Dec. 1858. He married in 1851 the relict of J. J. Eyre of Endcliffe, near Sheffield, but left no heir, and was succeeded in the title and estates by his brother.

[Debrett's Baronetage; Journal Royal Geogr. Society, xxiv. p. cxxviii; Gent. Mag. 3rd ser. vi. 105; Funeral Sermon, by Rev. T. Lord, 1859; Oxford Graduates.]

T. F. H.