A ketch-rigged royal yacht in a breeze

In the early years of the 18th century most of the smack-rigged royal yachts were converted to ketch rig and new ones were built with it. There were nearly twenty yachts in the service and they were used not only for royalty but to ferry government servants and other important people to and from the Continent, and elsewhere. This was often from Greenwich, which was their station in the Thames, where the Royal Hospital for Seamen provided a suitably grandiose point of embarkation and arrival. The yacht portrayed is possibly the 'Portsmouth'. It is flying the red ensign and a Union jack on the bowsprit, with a commissioning pennant, and has the royal coat of arms carved on the stern. Other shipping can be seen in the distance.

The artist is thought to have joined the studio of Willem van de Velde the Younger as a regular studio assistant, where he absorbed the typical van de Velde technique and palette. In 1699 his daughter, Bernarda, married van de Velde's painter son, Cornelis, at Knightsbridge, London. He has signed the painting on a spar in the bottom foreground.

Object Details

ID: BHC0994
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Hagen, Johan van der
Vessels: H.M.Y. Portsmouth
Date made: circa 1710
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 457 mm x 406 mm

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