This appears to be the same ship as Robinson 1958, no. 62, pl. 20, though here she is shown in the characteristic starboard quarter view (see lot 16) rather than from the starboard bow. The Princess Mary was an English Third Rate, i.e. a warship having between 55 and 80 guns. She was originally built in 1650 as the Speaker and renamed in 1660, probably when she was part of the Restoration squadron, accompanying Charles II on his return to England as King.
The drawing shows off the confidence and fluency of Van de Velde’s draftsmanship. One can see from the various pentimenti at the right that the ship was originally shorter and that the artist twice redrew the outline until he was satisfied that he had got the proportions right. The positions of the gun ports are also altered until the spacing is correct. These changes are often made in a stronger, darker line, as in the outline of the carvings or in the scribbled shading along the rudder, where the point of the pencil has broken and we can see parallel lines from the spikes of the uneven graphite.
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