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Witte de With's Action with Dunkirkers off Nieuwpoort, 1640

BHC0272
Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: With, Witte Corneliszoon de

Object details:

Object ID BHC0272
Description During the Thirty Years War, Spanish naval power reached unprecedented levels. Their ports and shipyards in Flanders, particularly Dunkirk, were the focus of maritime revival. The Flanders fleet which evolved in response to Dutch sea power became the most devastating and effective unit in Spain's defence establishment. In combination with its privateering auxiliaries, this élite striking force dominated the North Sea between 1625 and 1645, and also campaigned in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. This interpretation probably depicts the 1640 engagement between the Dutch commander de With and the Navarrese Admiral Miguel de Horna. He was the overall sea-commander of the Spanish Flanders fleet, and in July 1640 he was intercepted by de With when returning from a privateering voyage. The battle that ensued was long and bloody, but the Dutch commander was able to capture two Spanish vessels. Five galleons are depicted surrounding one Dutch ship in the centre, in starboard-bow view. It is flying the Dutch flag and pendants, while the Spanish ships fly the Burgundian ragged-cross flag of the Spanish Netherlands and have painted decorations on their sterns. Guns are firing from the Spanish ship on the left and the second from the right, towards the Dutch ship in the middle. This ship is depicted returning their fire. The painting is one of a pair with BHC0271, and they were probably commissioned by either a merchant or a specific ship owner whose property had been saved or rescued by de With, since any success against the Dunkirkers was deemed worthy of celebration. Both paintings probably depict the same encounter from 1640, since they are similar in overall design and in details of light, weather conditions and vessels shown. This painting bears an inscription, 'IGL 1643' on a bale floating in the foreground.
Date made 1643

Artist/Maker Loeff, Jacob Gerritsz
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Palmer Collection. Acquired with the assistance of H.M. Treasury, the Caird Fund, the Art Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Society for Nautical Research Macpherson Fund.
Materials oil on panel
Measurements Frame: 504 mm x 849 mm x 64 mm;Painting: 381 mm x 724 mm
Parts
  • Witte de With's Action with Dunkirkers off Nieuwpoort, 1640 (BHC0272)
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