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Battle of Bergen, 2/12 August 1665, by Van de Velde the Elder
This picture of the Battle of Bergen (2/12 August 1665) was drawn by after the battle by Van de Velde the Elder. The background was produced soon after the battle, and the English ships added a year later.
Picture reproduced courtesy of Seaforth Publishing, and can be found in The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L. Fox
Willem van de Velde was baptised on 18 December 1633 in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic.
A son of Willem van de Velde the Elder, also a painter of sea-pieces, Willem van de Velde, the younger, was instructed by his father, and afterwards by Simon de Vlieger, a marine painter of repute at the time, and had achieved great celebrity by his art before he came to London.  He was also influenced by the work of the Dutch maritime artist Jan van de Cappelle, who excelled at painting cloudy skies, the clouds often being reflected in the calm waters. The younger Van de Velde collaborated with his father, an experienced draughtsman, who prepared studies of the battles, events and seascapes while the son painted the pictures. Father and son were driven from the Netherlands by the political and economic conditions which resulted from war with the French, and by 1673, had moved to England.  Here he was engaged by Charles II, at a salary of £100, to aid his father in "taking and making draughts of sea-fights", his part of the work being to reproduce in color the drawings of the elder Van de Velde. He was also patronized by the Duke of York and by various members of the nobility. 
He died on 6 April 1707 in London, England,  and was buried at St James's Church, Piccadilly. A memorial to him and his father lies within the church.
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Willem van de Velde (I)
. Circa 1654-1655. oil and ink on canvas. 114 × 160 cm (44.8 × 62.9 in). Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
. 1657 . oil and ink on canvas. 170 × 289 cm (66.9 × 113.7 in). Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
. 1659 . oil and ink on canvas. 123 × 185 cm (48.4 × 72.8 in). Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Battle of the Sound, 1658 Edit
– Maritiem Museum Rotterdam (P963)
The Battle of the Sound, 8 November 1658 Edit
– Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst, The Hague
The Battle of the Sound, 8 November 1658 Edit
June 1902: Purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (SK-A-1973)
The English attack against the returning Dutch fleet in the harbor of Bergen, 12 August 1665 Edit
– Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (SK-A-1384)
Signature and date probably apocryphal. Composed of two fragments, which were restored by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam in 1960
The Council of War on board 'De Zeven Provinciën', 10 June 1666 Edit
1910: ceded to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (SK-A-4289) by the royal family of the Netherlands and ‘friends of the marine’
Seascape with Dutch men-of-war Edit
1887: transferred to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (SK-A-1390)
Dutch Flagships at Sea in a Moderate Breeze under Easy Sail Edit
– Palazzo Pitti, Florence (328)
The Battle of Solebay, 7 June 1672 Edit
1881: purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam RP-T-00-403, RP-T-00-404
Two-decker ‘De Hollandsche Maagd in den Tuin’ Edit
The ‘Kingfisher’s? action against seven Algerine ships, 2 June 1681 Edit
– National Maritime Museum, London (PAG6247)
Portrait of the ‘Mordaunt’, Fourth Rate, built 1681, 46 guns Edit
– National Maritime Museum, London (PAI7281)
The First Battle of Schooneveld, 28 May 1673 Edit
– National Maritime Museum, London (BHC0305)
Attributed to Willem van de Velde (I) Edit
Episode from the Four Day Battle at Sea, 11-14 June 1666 Edit
1883: transferred to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (SK-A-1392)
Episode from the Battle of the Sound, 8 November 1658 Edit
12-13 June 1888: sale of the collection of Terbruggen at an unknown auction house, Amsterdam
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File:The Battle of Scheveningen, 10 August 1653 RMG BHC0277.jpg
The Battle of Scheveningen was the last battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–4). This grisaille or 'pen-painting' is one of two known grisailles of the Battle of Scheveningen, 10 August 1653. This work is the smaller and earlier of the two works by Willem van de Velde, the Elder that show the event. The scene relates to the conclusion of the action and it is based on sketches made by van de Velde, who was an eyewitness to the event. Whilst, van de Velde interpreted the battle as a success for the Dutch, it was more widely regarded as a Dutch defeat since they lost 15 ships. More disastrously, they lost their leader, Lieutenant-Admiral Maerten Tromp. His death, which occurred at the beginning of the engagement, resulted in confusion amongst the Dutch fleet. Consequently the English were able to impose harsh terms on the Dutch at the ensuing peace conference.
Several incidents, which occurred at different times during the action, are combined in this work to form a continuous narrative. The battle is shown towards its conclusion and viewed from a high horizon. The fleets are passing each other with the English mainly on the port tack and the Dutch on the starboard, heading for land. The composition is crowded. In the right foreground the burning British ship, Andrew, 66 guns, is shown being grappled by the Dutch fireship Fortune. ‘Fortune’ is identifiable by the figure of Fortune on the stern. Whilst the 'Andrew', with lion figurehead visible, flies the Commonwealth jack with a cross and harp within a wreath. At the mizzen she flies the white St George's flag of Thomas Graves, rear-admiral of the white squadron. In addition small St George's vanes can be seen on the other two masts. The artist has shown the consequences of the altercation between the ‘Fortune’ and ‘Andrew’. Figures can be seen escaping the burning ‘Andrew’. Some are abandoning the vessel in fully laden ship's boats and others are visible in the water. An English ship is close to the ‘Andrew’ on her starboard quarter. Whilst another ship can be seen sinking to starboard.
In the distance, on the far right, are two Dutch ships: the Ster, which has a star on her stern and the Eendracht with a lion and a seated figure of Hollandia within a fence on hers. Immediately behind the smoke from the 'Andrew' are the stern, masts and sails of the Dutch Jong Prins te Paard. Beyond and to the left of these ships is the British commander, General-at-Sea George Monck, in the Resolution, 85 guns. The ‘Resolution’ flies the Commonwealth standard at the main and the red ensign at the fore. The red ensign represented a signal for close action. The ‘Resolution’ is just visible in the middle distance engaged in action with the 'Brederode', 59 guns. The Brederode was the flagship of the Dutch Commander-in-Chief, Maerten Tromp. It is shown still flying Tromp's flag even though by this stage in the battle he was dead. Visible on the stern of the 'Brederode' are the arms of Orange with lion supporters. The flag and pendant can be seen at the main.
The Dutch ships in the centre and to the left of the 'Brederode' are recognizable from their stern decoration the Winhond, with a greyhound on the tafferel and the Vrede, 46 guns, identifiable by the full-length figure with a palm. The latter has the flag of Gideon de Wildt, second-in-command in Tromp's squadron, lashed to the remaining part of her fore-topmast and she can be seen engaging an English ship on her port bow flying a dark flag, which may indicate that it is the George, 70 guns, flagship of John Lawson, admiral of the blue squadron. A Dutch ship on the left, beyond a sinking English ship, is the Herder with a stern decoration of a shepherd with his flock. On the far left in the distance and enveloped in smoke from a burning English ship is probably the Gouda, 72 guns, and even further in the distance is the Vrijheid, 50 guns, with a flag at the main and on the stern a seated female figure holding up a cap of Liberty on a spear.
In the left foreground is a galliot, flying a Dutch flag, under sail with several men on board, one of whom is the artist. He is the seated figure with his back to the viewer, wearing a hat, holding a drawing block and pencil, and looking towards the action on his right. The figure of a younger man stands to the left and his positioning indicates that he may either be an assistant or perhaps one of the artist's sons acting as an apprentice and learning through observation. The artist presents himself as a figure observing and sketching the progress of the conflict which he was to do in a similar way in at least six battles of the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Such a prominent foregrounding implies that he wished to be identified with the painting and the battle. By taking an aerial perspective, rather than the view he would have gained from his position in the boat, he, also, states his involvement in the overall project. Van de Velde produced several versions of this battle and the composition of this work follows the drawing he made during the course of the action. The much larger picture of the same battle in the Rijksmuseum has a higher horizon which enabled van de Velde to show a more panoramic view.
This painting was clearly commissioned by a Dutch patron since the event is portrayed as a Dutch success. The focal point of the painting is the sinking of the British 'Andrew' which was the one Dutch success of the action. The joint prominence of this incident and the artist may have been a form of advertising to ensure his participation was acknowledged. In a document written at the end of the battle and enclosed with a letter from Jan Evertsen to the States General, van de Velde wrote: ‘On arrival there was seen a fireship of Amsterdam, which had grappled the rear-admiral with the white flag, from which many people were jumping overboard she was an old-fashioned ship, larger than Admiral Tromp’s ship and mounting a good sixty guns. The attack was not completely successful, but eventually the ship went down in a cloud of smoke.’ He also added that ‘… at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon I saw 14 or 15 ravaged English ships … One of them sank and two were on fire. All this can be seen in the drawings made, as accurately as possible, in the heat of the battle.’
The painting probably belonged to Harpert Tromp, the son of Maerten Tromp (who died while commanding Dutch fleet at Scheveningen), and younger brother of Cornelis Tromp. By the 1750s, when it was cleaned, it was in the collection of Sir Edward Littleton of Teddesley Hall, near Stafford. A letter from John Anderson, picture cleaner, addressed to Littleton on 11 August 1756 is in the Museum’s collection: ‘Your Picture of Vandervelde [set] Out on Monday Last By the Litchfield Waggon, Saunders and Kirk, which I hope will Come Verry safe to you, as it is as fine a Picture of the Great Master as Ever I saw.’
Licensing [ edit ]