Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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Dock Scene at a British Port

Fine art

Object connections:

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

Object details:

Object ID BHC0845
Description English and Dutch ships taking on stores or cargo at a port. Although the port is probably imaginary, the activities relating to the loading has been closely observed. It has been set in a harbour, with the tower of a gate and a quay visible on the right, and the coast in the distance on the left. An English flagship is on the right, firing a salute and flying the ensign from the stern carved with the royal coat of arms. Beside the quay is an English flyboat that, from her shape, was probably Dutch-built. A royal yacht is arriving on the left and this has prompted the firing of the salute. On the extreme left is the stern of a Dutch ship. On the quay two bales of stores or goods with clear cargo markings have been positioned in the foreground. Men are involved in loading up small craft, a horse is dragging a barrel on skids to the water's edge and there are several groups of gentlemen and women observing the activities. A guard stands outside a sentry box in the gateway. From 1673 Knyff's output appears to have been mostly British coastal or river scenes, with increasing emphasis on accurate and colourful depiction of the great ships of the Stuart navy. Although Dutch-born he came to England when Charles II issued a general invitation to Dutch artists and craftsmen to work in England in 1672. Although the two countries were at war, patronage for artists in Holland had diminished and a number took advantage of this offer, including the van de Veldes and Knyff. This signed work came to light in 1972 and provided the first definitive identification of Knyff's artistic hand. It is a sophisticated painting with accurate ships depicted. It is also is a relatively late example of a tradition in Netherlandish art of such waterfront compositions which, real or imaginary, provided an obvious focus for scenes of varied incident. Signed and dated 1673.
Date made 1673

Artist/Maker Knyff, Jacob
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 965 mm x 1270 mm; Frame: 1140 mm x 1455 mm x 85 mm
  • Dock Scene at a British Port (BHC0845)
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