PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF JOHN PIERPONT MORGAN, 2ND
Numbered in a later hand in graphite upper right: 13
inscribed in brown ink upper right: de fuirrijeuse bejegeninge nade noen alwaer de heere van obdam/ met zijn schip op springt ende onse schepen beginnen te retireeren ende loopen/ ontrent de tijt van drie uuren na middach zijnde dit ongeval
[the furious counterattack after noon where the Lord of Obdam with his ship exploded and our ships begin to fall back and go, this accident being around the time of three o'clock in the afternoon]
with numerous inscriptions in pen and brown ink identifying the ships and the combatants
graphite, pen and brown and gray ink and gray wash and with a few touches in a darker brown ink, within graphite framing lines
Like the previous two lots, this drawing is a tapestry design, depicting a specific moment in the Battle of Lowestoft, on 3/13 June 1665. The turning point of this important battle between the English and the Dutch fleets was the destruction of the Eendracht, the Dutch flagship. Although the explosion was apparently an accident, it broke the spirit of the Dutch and thereafter they began to flee. Here, the scene has shifted from the previous two drawings, so that the English are aligned towards the left, separated from the Dutch by a long diagonal channel. We see the Eendracht in the lower center consumed by flames and with black smoke pouring out to the right.
The Earl of Sandwich (Zantwits) is in the center of the English attack, Prince Rupert (de Prins) is above him, his flag visible against the smoke of the battle, and the Duke of York (de ducke) is in the foreground. But the English are still aligned together; they have not yet spread out to chase the Dutch as in the Greenwich drawing (Robinson 1958, no. 446 and pl. 102), which shows a slightly later moment in the battle.
The description of the Dutch fleet is largely a list of casualties. The leader of the Fourth Squadron, Lieutenant Admiral Stellingwerf has been killed (Stellingwerf doot), his ship just visible at the upper right. In the foreground right is the Oranje -- not a warship but a ship from the East India Company -- which is gravely damaged and leaves the battle (Orangie gaete uijtet gevecht/ seer reddeloos ende gematteert); she was later captured by the English. Graef, Rear Admiral of the First Squadron, is also dead, and the survivors aboard the Tijdverdrijf flee (graeff doot/ gaet wech). She is in the middle of the Dutch fleet, center right, from the viewer’s perspective, her sails in disarray. Tromp, however, is still in the middle of the action, fighting on, flanked by Van der Hulst, Vice Admiral of the First Squadron.
Revealingly, although Van de Velde seems remarkably detached and objective in most of his depictions of these battles between the Dutch and English, and in fact made this compostion while working for the English King, at this disastrous moment for the Dutch, his inscription refers to "our" ships falling back.
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