The English and Dutch fleets on the day after the Battle of Solebay, 1672
The drawing shows a starboard lee quarter view of the two fleets with a quartering wind. It probably depicts events at about five in the afternoon, after the fog had cleared and before the freshening breeze caused the Allied fleet to haul off to windward without engaging. The flagships are flying jacks at the mizzen peak as the signal for the order of the battle and the Duke of York has put abroad the 'flag of defiance' at the fore as a signal to engage.
On the far left, the English rear. A third-rate on the extreme left; ahead of her, the Rear-Admiral of the rear (an ensign at the mizzen, perhaps the 'St Michael', one of the red squadron; then Jordanm Vice-Admiral of the blue in the 'Royal Sovereign'; he is bearing up across the bows of two ships near him noted as under the Vice-Admiral of the blue; the Admiral of the blue in the place of Sandwich is to windward of the Royal Sovereign. Further ahead, the Vice and Rear-Admirals of the red abreast of one another. The Duke of York is back again in the 'Royal Prince' bearing up (incorrectly noted on the drawing as duck de Jorck op Londen). On the Royal Prince's port bow is d'EstrÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬Â«es and the rest of the French squadron stretching ahead. The saltires shown in several ensigns and flags are probably Van de Velde's convention for blue flags.
In the centre, the Dutch rear. The nearest ships are the 'Kaleb' and the 'Dordrecht', drawn without her masts to show the ships beyond. This is explained in the following inscription: 'dort die met dit gesigt soon a/ was dat mijn verwonderd dates geen nuur ? gaven' (the Dordrecht ehivh here appeared so near that I was surprised there was no firing). Ahead of the 'Dordrecht' is David Vlugh in the 'Wapen van Enkhuizen'; then Van de Velde's galjoot bearing up: 'mijn gallijot soo wat te louwaert socht te comen/ omt wreck wat uijt de voeten te staen' (my galljoot in trying to get to windward had difficulty in getting out of the way). Next ahead is the Schram in the 'Pacificatie', then Sweers in the 'Olifant' and De Haen in the 'Gouda' abreast of one another. Van Ghent's ship, identified by the inscription 'van gent', continues to lead the squadron.
The order of the rest of the Dutch fleet is Aert van Nes, De Ruyter, Mathijszen, with Doedes Star on the weather bow, Banckert, and Evertsen and Bruynsvelt, both of whom appear to be coming into the wind.
In the left foreground, there is an English ketch and on the right, the stern views of two Dutch snows, two galjoots and the two Dutch frigates identified as 'Agatha' and 'Essen'.
Willem van de Velde, the Elder
Original size: 682 mm x 2460 m
- Image reference: PT3045
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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