Portrait of the 'Leopard', 6 guns, was a fireship, purchased in 1672 and expended in 1673.
The 'Leopard', viewed from abaft the port beam, before the wind under fore course, topsails and main topgallant. There are no gunports on a broadside and an escape-port aft. On the tafferel, a lion or leopard is couchant guardant. The drawing is an unsigned offset by the Elder. It is probably not in reverse. The hull and mast have been rubbed on the back but the sails have been added in bold and rapid black chalk. It has been dated by the subject. In the Boymans Museum, Rotterdam there is another offset depicting the 'Leopard' made from the same drawing (MB 1866 T. 287). Fireships were vessels of little value, filled with combustibles, and used to set fire to enemy ships during the course of a battle.
Willem van de Velde, the Elder
Original size: 580 mm x 508 mm
- Image reference: PT2435
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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