The first Battle of Schooneveld, 28 May 1673

The second major action of the Third Anglo-Dutch War took place in the early summer of 1673. The combined English and French fleets under the command of Prince Rupert lay for several weeks off the Dutch coast hoping to entice De Ruyter to battle on disadvantageous terms. On two occasions De Ruyter chose his own time to come out from the shallows, and although both actions were indecisive, the allied fleet was forced to return to the Thames to refit. This drawing shows the first encounter.

Van de Velde, now based in London and working for Charles II, was present at the battle in a ketch. This evocative, sketchy drawing is inscribed in Dutch ‘tegen de avont no7 seg no 10’ [Towards evening: no. 7 altered to no. 10]. It belongs to a series of drawings made during the battle mostly in the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, but it is much more hastily sketched. Drawings like this, obviously drawn rapidly during the heat of the battle, and heavily annotated, are rare. They would probably have been worked up carefully later, or more likely would provide the information for more careful drawings, before possibly being discarded or destroyed.

Object Details

ID: PAG6218
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Velde, Willem van de, the Elder
Events: Third Anglo-Dutch War: Battles of Schooneveld, 1673
Date made: 1673
Exhibition: Unseen: The Lives of Looking by Dryden Goodwin
People: Velde, Willem van de, the Elder
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 255 mm x 557 mm

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