Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich

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A Dutch Merchant Ship Running Between Rocks in Rough Weather

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC0911
Description A merchant ship is shown in stormy weather passing between rocks. She is in starboard-bow view before the wind and her fore and main topsails are neatly furled against the storm. She flies a Dutch flag at the main. The ship is shown passing between a single small rock in the left foreground and a row of larger rocks running into the distance in the right background. She does not appear to be in distress and the artist does not indicate that she is in imminent danger. Another ship in the left background, well astern of the first, is also before the wind with only her fore course set. A third ship is shown under sail in the left distance. The main vessel may have been of the type used for the Baltic trade. A flag at the main in such a small ship would signify a commander of a small fleet of merchantmen. The rocky shore may therefore be intended to signify the Norwegian coast, which would have been familiar to the artist through the scenes of Simon de Vlieger. The picture was painted in Holland when van de Velde, younger son of Willem van de Velde the Elder, was still a young man. Born in Leiden, he studied under Simon de Vlieger in Weesp and in 1652 moved back to Amsterdam. He worked in his father's studio and developed the skill of carefully drawing ships in tranquil settings. He changed his subject matter, however, when he came with his father to England in 1672-73, by a greater concentration on royal yachts, men-of-war and storm scenes. From this time painting sea battles for Charles II and his brother (and Lord High Admiral) James, Duke of York, and other patrons, became a priority. Unlike his father's works, however, they were not usually eyewitness accounts. After his father's death in 1693 his continuing role as an official marine painter obliged him to be more frequently present at significant maritime events. The painting is signed and dated 'W,V,V. 1651'.
Date made 1651

Artist/Maker Velde, Willem van de
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on panel
Measurements Painting: 787 mm x 1041 mm; Frame: 985 x 1283 x 105 mm
  • A Dutch Merchant Ship Running Between Rocks in Rough Weather (BHC0911)
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