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A Middelburg ship lying off Middelburg

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC0875
Description (Updated, August 2014) This oil painting has been attributed to Jean-Baptiste Bonnecroy (1618-76), who is otherwise associated with the genre of panoramic views. Until March 2014 the scene was said to be a Middleburg ship lying off Antwerp, when it was suggested that it is in fact off Middelburg. This is more likely to be the case; first, because of the general positioning of the main buildings (the tower of the main church being, in fact, more decorated than the spire shown); second, because comparison with other prints shows it is certainly not Antwerp; third because the sprit-rigged yacht on the left has the arms of the province of Zeeland on the stern, and the main ship those of Middelburg, which is the capital of Zeeland. The intended iconography as a patriotic piece is therefore self-evident. The shipping on the left forms a baroque grouping that dominates the picture foreground. Other ships fill the dramatically lit water to the right and in the background, framing the city in the distance. The overall style is obviously influenced by the Flemish 17th-century tradition, which can be seen in the liquid and ornamental rendering of the brushstrokes. More specifically, both the composition of the shipping grouping, and the paint-handling, suggest the artist was a close follower of Hendrick van Minderhout. The painting was presented to the NMM as a pair with BHC0874 in 1952. The donor was the first Lord Fairhaven, who was the beneficiary of a large inherited American fortune with which he created the notable art collection at Anglesea Abbey, Lode, about six miles (9 km) from Cambridge. Though his title was inherited by his brother he did not marry and on his death in 1966 left the Abbey and its collection to the National Trust.
Date made 17th century

Artist/Maker Jean-Baptiste Bonnecroy
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 851 mm x 1200 mm x 68 mm;Painting: 710 mm x 1180 mm
  • A Middelburg ship lying off Middelburg (BHC0875)
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