A Dutch Admiralty Yacht off Flushing (17thC).
The painting shows a heavily decorated Dutch Admiralty yacht, towing a ship’s boat viewed from the starboard quarter. Yachts like these were used by members of executive boards of the Admiralty, the United East India Company, the States General and the governments of the maritime provinces. They would have included spacious living quarters and a galley. The port of Flushing can be seen in the distance, along with other shipping flying the Dutch flag. Note the small boat to the right of the picture with interesting passengers aboard.
The possible artist, Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen, was born and died in Haarlem and was known for his skills as a draughtsman, painter, etcher and navigator. It is widely accepted that he was a pupil of Hendrick Vroom (1562-1640), credited with being the founder of Dutch marine art and seascape painting. Van Wieringen twice rose to the position of governor of the Haarlem Guild of St Luke – a city guild for painters (named for the Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of artists). He is known to have received commissions from the city of Haarlem and the Dutch Admiralty in Amsterdam. It is possible that this painting was commissioned by an official body with maritime interests at Flushing. Nonetheless, the attribution is not entirely certain and it is likely to have been due to the inscription ‘CW’ on the spar, floating at the lower right of the painting. The subject and general style of the painting, however, do suggest a later date; perhaps around the 1650s and operating in the circle of either Willem van de Velde the Younger, or Abraham Storck.
The Society has published a number of articles relating to this location, ship type and period including
‘Peter the Great’s English Yacht: Admiral Lord Carmarthen and the Russian Tobacco Monopoly‘, an article from 1983 which looks at the yacht presented to Peter the Great by William III in 1698. A more recent article, from 2008 ‘The Van de Velde Paintings for the Royal Yacht Charlotte, 1677 explores the administration and construction of the Charlotte, and from 2018 ‘A Model of the Royal Yacht Henrietta about 1679: Description and identification’ discusses presents a model of a royal yacht in the Portland Collection whose existence has, despite having been included in a published nineteenth-century catalogue, remained unrecognised for over 300 years.
The inscription on the