The first Battle of Schooneveld, 28 May 1673
The artist has adopted a high viewpoint to show the First Battle of Schooneveld, during the Third Dutch War, 1672-1674. Although he was present, the painting was produced eleven years after the event from drawings made at the time. The battle took place in the Schooneveld, a narrow basin at the mouth of the River Schelde, between the Dutch fleet under Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter in the 'Zeven Provincien', 80 guns, and the English and French Allied fleets. The Allied objective was to bring the Dutch to action and either defeat them or blockade their coast to cover the landing of an Allied army. Prince Rupert sent a mixed squadron towards the Dutch anchorage to tempt de Ruyter out. De Ruyter chased the Allied forces back to their fleet and battle commenced at noon, lasting for nine hours. Overall, one Dutch ship was captured and then recaptured and the Dutch 'Deventer', 70 guns, sank at anchor on the night after the battle: the French lost two ships sunk and the English none, although their loss of life was heavier than the Dutch.
Willem van de Velde, the Elder
- Image reference: BHC0305
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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