PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF JOHN PIERPONT MORGAN, 2ND
numbered in graphite upper edge left of center: no 7 and just to the right an indistinct inscription; further numbering in the right corner: 9; and above the latter in a later hand on an added sheet of paper: 9
Inscribed in ink upper center: het paseren van wollits ende eenige konings schepen die daer inde/ reviere laegen
[the passing of Woolwich and several of the king's ships which lie there in the river]
and underneath this, in graphite: ...W de groote
inscribed below left: [cut off] baersie [barge] and konigs baersie [the king's barge] and further to the right in graphite: de groote...
During the winter of 1672-73, Van de Velde and his son Willem the Younger moved from the Netherlands to England. Although the exact circumstances of their departure are not known, it is likely that it was prompted by the political situation in the Netherlands. The country had been unsettled by wars with the English since 1652, and in May 1672 the French invaded the northern Netherlands, threatening the safety of the citizens and their livelihood. After their arrival in England, King Charles II, a sailor himself, provided both father and son with a house in Greenwich, and early in 1674 granted them an annual retainer.
Van de Velde often accompanied the King on his journeys and would keep a visual record of the trips. On 17/27 August 1681, the King sailed down the Thames to Woolwich to see the the Tiger, a warship that had just been rebuilt there and was about to sail for the Mediterranean, under Lord Charles Berkeley; after dining on board the Tiger, the King and his party sailed with her downstream as far as Sheerness and Chatham, before returning to London. During a period of only three days Van de Velde made over 80 drawings of their voyage, the majority of which he numbered. Apparently many were lost, for Robinson-Weber list only 23 such compositions in public collections. Until now, the earliest known drawing from the sequence was Robinson 1958, no. 578, The Tiger with Sweeps Out, which is numbered 11. The present drawing, which is numbered 7, and also lot 11 below (numbered 3), precede it.
The drawings in the series are of different sizes, but this appears to be the largest of those that survive; only the drawing in Rotterdam entitled Off Gravesend (M B 1866/T180, Robinson & Weber, vol. I, pl 75 and vol. II, pls 306-07), which Van de Velde extended at the right, comes close in scale (including the addition, it measures 1116mm [44 in.] in length). The King's barge is here shown in the center foreground, and behind him to the right are the warships from the Woolwich shipyard. Beyond we see the Thames, looking downstream along the Woolwich Reach, with the higher ground of Kent in the background and further to the right.
Most of the drawing is quite finished with the main elements rendered in gray wash and the details picked out in a fine black pen line. Towards the far right of the composition the execution is, however, rougher. A barge and the oarsmen are drawn in strong strokes of graphite and the shading in broad wash, while the ships behind are still more freely drawn. At the extreme right edge, Van de Velde is at his freest, barely indicating the barges and the landscape behind.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale