The Dutch Indiamen sailing towards Bok op Raa (Bjaelkero), 25 August-4 September 1665
This is an unsigned pencil and wash drawing by the Elder. It is inscribed '[?middacht] den 4 september [soo] wij na bock op raa seijlen' (Midday on the 4 September as we sailed towards Bok op Raa), and numbered in a early hand, '24'. The view is from ahead of the Dutch ships, having failed to get out to sea by Hjelte fiord, heading for Bok op Raa with the intention of going out by Kors fiord. On the right is a view of a large ship, the 'Slot Hoonigen', probably with a flag at the mizzen. There is a galjoot ahead of her. Hjelte fiord is in the distance on the left ('t verschiet na Jeltefiour'). The drawing has heavy pen wash and pen work, particularly in the foreground, added by Charles Gore in the eighteenth century. This is one of a number of sketches from de Ruyter's voyage to Bergen in autumn 1665. Soon after his return from the West Indies, de Ruyter was chosen as commander-in-chief of the Dutch fleet. He went out in the frigate 'Schiedam' to join the Dutch fleet, and Cornelis Tromp handed over the command to him. The reorganised fleet sailed northwards to meet the returning East Indiamen. The English found them first, but failed to destroy them at Bergen and de Ruyter was thus able to escort them home from there, although many were captured after they had been dispersed by a gale.
Willem van de Velde, the Elder
Original size: 289 mm x 890 mm
- Image reference: PT2518
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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