Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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A Dutch Ship Scudding Before a Storm

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
ExhibitionsArt for the Nation, Palmer Collection
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC0905
Description On the left is a ship, in starboard-broadside view, running before the storm in a heavy sea. Her main and mizzen yards are lowered and the fore course is clewed up on a half-lowered yard but not furled, leaving a little bit of sail. Her fore topmast has been struck and she seems to have lost her bowsprit, and the forestay has been cut away. She has Dutch pennants at the fore and the mizzen although the staff for a flag at the main is bare. In the right distance there is another ship before the wind under a fore course with the sheets let fly. The central area of the painting is bathed in brilliant light to contrast with the darkness of the storm clouds on the right. Shafts of light run diagonally from the right behind the main ship and light its sail, the tops of the waves and the tips of the masts of the ship on the right. The artist was the younger son of Willem van de Velde the Elder. 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.
Date made circa 1690

Artist/Maker Velde, Willem van de
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 canvas, frame
Measurements Frame: 806 mm x 960 mm x 100 mm;Painting: 571 mm x 736 mm
  • A Dutch Ship Scudding Before a Storm (BHC0905)
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