Dutch whalers in the Arctic

Framed panel of 113 delftware tiles, painted in blue with a whaling scene, within a decorative repeat-pattern tile surround. Four Dutch sailing vessels - all fluyts by type - are shown off an ice floe, on which can be seen whalemen and boats. Two whales are seen in the foreground, one being harpooned from a boat. In the centre of the picture, the principal vessel may be moored to the ice. It has a dead whale alongside to port, ready for flensing, and two gutted herring shown on its tafferel (sternboard). In the upper left corner of the picture are the arms of the Dutch village of De Rijp - also of two gutted herring - suggesting the ship may be called the 'De Rijp' or come from there. De Rijp is a former small island and port village in the municipality of Alkmaar, in the province of North Holland. It was formerly famous for its herring fishery, as its arms celebrate. This type of painted and fired Delft tile picture, often of shipping subjects, is a very characteristic feature of Dutch interior decoration of the late-17th and 18th centuries. They are usually found set into walls but can be in wooden frames (as in this case), often because they have been salvaged before their original setting has been demolished. The subject here suggests this one was perhaps originally in a merchant's or shipowner's house in De Rijp but its history is not known before it was acquired in Amsterdam in 1938

Object Details

ID: AAA4511
Collection: Decorative art
Type: Picture
Display location: Display - QH
Creator: Unknown
Places: De Rijp
Date made: early 18th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1251 mm x 1645 mm x 72 mm; Overall: 44.6 kg

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