Portrait of the 'Providence'?
This is a ship portrait, viewed from the port quarter. The ship has square decorated ports and inscribed on the back in black ink in a later hand: 'Vanee'. This is most probably a collector's mark although this has not been substantiated. This is a carefully executed drawing, probably based on an offset, which might be the later work of the Elder. However, since the 'Providence' was made a fireship and sold in 1667, it is more likely to be an early, finished drawing by the Younger. It is unlikely to have been sketched from life. There is another drawing of the 'Providence' or the 'Expedition' (PAF6462) certainly executed by the Elder, in 1661. The present drawing is entirely different from this one. It bears many traits characteristic of the work of Willem van de Velde the Younger: the accuracy of the hull-form, the general lightness of the wash, the absence of any figures on deck and the characteristic flick of the Elder's pencil, to suggest the reflection on the water under a ship's stern. Moreover, a ship drawn in the background of a portrait study of a ship would have been extremely rare in the work of the Elder. There is another comparable portrait of the 'Providence' by van de Velde the Elder, executed in 1661, in the Boymans Museum, Rotterdam (MB1866/T412). This drawing shows the ship viewed from the starboard quarter and is of comparable size to PAH9345.
Willem van de Velde, the Younger
Original size: 357 mm x 519 mm
- Image reference: PY9345
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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