Old Masters Evening Auction

Old Masters Evening Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 17. Rotterdam, a view of shipping on the Nieuwe Maas river, taken from the south-east; Amsterdam, a view of shipping on the IJ, taken from the north-east.

Property from a European Private Collection

Abraham Storck

Rotterdam, a view of shipping on the Nieuwe Maas river, taken from the south-east; Amsterdam, a view of shipping on the IJ, taken from the north-east

Auction Closed

July 6, 06:35 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a European Private Collection

Abraham Storck

Amsterdam 1644 - 1708

Rotterdam, a view of shipping on the Nieuwe Maas river, taken from the south-east; Amsterdam, a view of shipping on the IJ, taken from the north-east

the former signed lower right: A Storck;

the latter signed lower centre: A: Storck . Fec

a pair, both oil on canvas

each: 67.9 x 83.5 cm.; 26¾ x 32⅞ in.




1644 - 1708年,阿姆斯特丹


款識:藝術家簽名 A Storck(鹿特丹一作右下);藝術家簽名 A: Storck . Fec(阿姆斯特丹一作中下)


各:67.9 x 83.5 公分;26¾ x 32⅞ 英寸

James John van Alen (1848–1923), Newport, Rhode Island, and New York;

By whom sold, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 22 November 1910, lot 151, to Brasser;

Talma Stheeman, London;

With Kunsthandel S. Nystad, Lochem and The Hague;

With Charles Roelofsz, Amsterdam, from whom acquired on 25 October 1996 by the father of the present owners.

Vals of echt?, exh. cat., Amsterdam 1952, pp. 10 and 26, no. 34, reproduced (the latter);

H.R. Hoetink and W.L. van de Watering, Terugzien in bewondering / A collectors’ choice, exh. cat., The Hague 1982, pp. 204–7, nos 81 and 82, both reproduced.

This fine pair of paintings, each in a state of remarkably good condition, represent the two great ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the buildings of each city clearly discernible along the horizon lines, and the water in both scenes animated with a variety of ships, with other boats and figures. The View of Rotterdam is repeated in a number of versions, but the accompanying View of Amsterdam would appear to be less common, as is the pairing of the two works. On the basis of stylistic grounds, the pendants appear most likely to have been painted during the last years of the 17th century, or even circa 1700, though none of the related versions of the views are dated.

The View of Rotterdam includes: the Pelikaan windmill on the left, beside which are the gates that framed the Leuvehaven – the Witte Poort and the Ooster Nieuwe Hoofdpoort; the Laurenskerk is in the centre; and the Ooster Oude Hoofdpoort is towards the right, beside the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) of Rotterdam (hidden here by the red flag).

Before this is an English yacht, identified by the pre-1707 Union Jack (which does not include the red cross of St Patrick), saluting a Dutch man-o’-war flying the large red ensign with a crowned golden lion of the States General of the Netherlands (used from circa 1650) from its stern, in the Nieuwe Maas river. Both ships are clearly carrying people of note – the tricolour hoisted at the main mast, and the three lanterns on the stern, indicate that an admiral is aboard the Dutch man-o’-war. The English yacht bears a red ensign with a St George’s cross, which identifies a senior admiral, and the other pennant with the Union Jack shows that it is a commissioned ship. Two more British ships may be seen in the centre of the middle distance, and on the right, two further Dutch men-o’-war. In the foreground, a rowing barge, decorated with white swans on a blue background and flying a red and white striped flag (the symbol of Hoorn or Dordrecht), is transporting passengers to the shore, where other figures carry fishing gear. The popularity of this view is attested to by the existence of at least seven other versions of the design, including that in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (inv. no. DPG608).1

The View of Amsterdam represents some of the city’s major buildings visible along the waterfront from the harbour: from the warehouse (Oost-Indisch Zeemagazijn) and shipyard (Oostindiëwerf) of the VOC on the left; the Oosterkerk at Wittenburg; the towers of the Montelbaanstoren and the Zuiderkerk in the centre; followed by the tower of the Oude Kerk, the Town Hall (atop which is visible the statue of Atlas, holding the globe), and the Nieuwe Kerk; and beyond these the tower of the Westerkerk, the large copper dome of the Ronde Lutherse Kerk and the Haringspakkerstoren on the right.

In the foreground figures are bathing, picnicking, and in rowing boats; a Dutch East India Company barge carries a well-dressed company perhaps towards the large merchant boat beyond, which is either drawing up or lowering its anchor; a small yacht beside this fires a salute; and on the right are smaller vessels, including one bearing fishing pots. In many of these details, though not the overall design, this work compares to a signed painting of the same view, dated to circa 1705, in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (inv. no. BHC0925),2 which exists in several iterations. There appear, however, to be very few versions of the present composition – there is a signed example in the Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. S.3548),3 and an old black and white photograph at the Witt Library records a painting of the same scene as being in the collection of Lady Christie, Devon.

The inclusion of so much staffage in these paintings – sailors, merchants, members of the bourgeoisie and ordinary people – is a distinctive feature of Storck’s work, adept as he was at rendering not only marine subjects and architecture, but also the human figure. The pair reflects Storck’s interest in the recreational and commercial aspects of marine life, as much as in the grand technicality of larger warships, and of course his special preference for views of the major harbours of The Netherlands. The sunny atmosphere of both paintings typifies Storck’s anecdotal light touch, and a seeming preoccupation with the connection between sea and land, and his countrymen’s ability to harness the economic prosperity to be derived from the two.

Note on Provenance

James J. van Alen (1848–1923), an Oxford graduate, was an American property magnate, socialite and by contemporary accounts a colourful character, known as the ‘American Prince of Wales’. He built a house in Newport, Rhode Island, and rented but did not live in Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire. His opposition to prohibition led him to sell his New York town house at 15 East 65th Street in 1919 and live abroad, commenting ‘I know lots of people that will leave the United States and make their home in countries where the laws are not so strict’. He spent most of the rest of his life in Cannes, but died in London. It is unclear why, where or when he acquired this pair of Storcks, nor why he sold them in Amsterdam in 1910. 

1 https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/explore-the-collection/601-650/an-english-yacht-saluting-a-dutch-man-of-war-in-the-port-of-rotterdam/ 

2 https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-12417 

3 https://www.maritiemdigitaal.nl/index.cfm?event=search.getdetail&id=101019950