The 'Resolution' In a Gale

In the foreground is the 'Resolution', in port-quarter view, close-hauled on the port tack. Her topsails are neatly furled, she has a Union flag at the main and flies a red ensign. 'Resolution' was one of the first of the 70-gun two-deckers, built at Harwich in 1667 and rebuilt in 1698. She was flagship of Sir Thomas Allin in 1668-70, the Union at the main signifying his role at that time as 'Admiral of a Fleet to the Streights' (of Gibraltar), or, in more familiar terms, commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. His fleet consisted of three third-rates, eleven fourth-rates and four fifth-rates, with three fire-ships, two ketches and a storeship. As Vice-Admiral he had Sir Edward Spragge in the 'Revenge' and, as Rear-Admiral, Sir John Harman in the 'St David' - who both operated separately on occasions in their continuing war to protect English merchant shipping against Barbary pirates. The picture is therefore presumably a commission from Allin and was done from several drawings the artist made of the subject. It may be based on Allin's reminiscence of a storm on 14 December 1669, of which he gives a brief account in his journal (also in the National Maritime Museum but edited by R.C. Anderson for the Navy Records Society; 2 vols., 1939-40). Close ahead of the 'Resolution' is another two-decker with a common pendant at the masthead but no ensign or jack. The artist was 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. The painting is signed 'W.V.Velde J'.

Object Details

ID: BHC3582
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Velde, Willem van de
Vessels: Resolution (1667)
Date made: circa 1678
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Painting: 1194 mm x 1016 mm; Frame: 1565 x 1381 x 155 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.