Circa 1700 England
After Willem Van de Velde, A Marine Oil Painting
Height 32 1/4 inches (82 cm)
Width 42 inches (107 cm)
Depth 2 inches (5 cm)
After Willem Van de Velde, early 18th century
An English Ship in a Gale with other shipping
Oil on canvas; held in a period carved wood and gilded frame
Dimensions refer to framed size
This is a version of the painting by Willem Van de Velde finished c.1685. Another is in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London and four further versions are listed by M.S. Robinson in his catalogue of the complete works of Van de Velde published in 1990. This appears to be a completely new discovery as it does not conform to any of those recorded at that time and was recently found in a private collection of a deceased estate in the North of England.
The composition depicts an English ship, on the left, fighting a gale surrounded by other shipping. Men climb the rigging in an attempt to unfurl the sail. In the right foreground a Dutch fishing craft known as a hooker is trying to bring down her sail also. In the left middle-distance and around are other ships, some at anchor, all riding out the storm. Although there is some blue sky immediately above the ship, the rest of the sky is filled with heavy storm clouds.
Willem van de Velde the Younger and his father of the same name were the most accomplished and successful of all marine artists. They worked as a team first in Holland and from 1672 onwards in England, where they were commissioned by Charles II to paint sea battles. Van de Velde the Elder was a consummate draughtsman who sailed with the fleet and made on-the-spot drawings of naval actions and Royal embarkations. His son used these drawings as raw material for his paintings. Although much in demand for warships and sea battles Van De Velde the Younger was equally adept at calm views.