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A Ship Flying the Royal Standard with Other Vessels off Dover
1707
Isaac Sailmaker

A Ship Flying the Royal Standard with Other Vessels off Dover  1707 Isaac Sailmaker

Ships are shown in the Straits of Dover, with Dover Castle in the background to the left and the mainland beyond. This is not an accurate portrayal of the Castle but was probably included by the artist to indicate the Channel fleet, with the North Foreland understood to be on the right. In the central foreground is a starboard-quarter view of a large man-of-war which may be the 'Britannia', flying the Royal Standard of Queen Anne, except that the white horse of Hanover appears to have been added inaccurately.

It is also shown flying the fouled anchor flag of the Admiralty at the fore. Thus the viewer is invited to recognise this as an important ship, probably with a member of the royal family on board: if painted before 1708, this might indicate Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral for his wife Queen Anne. The red ensign flies from the stern and the union flag flies from the mizzen, and two royal yachts follow astern, one gaff-rigged flying the Union at the stern and the other ketch-rigged flying a red ensign.

These and the other principal ships to their right mostly have their anchors aweigh and may be moving towards an anchorage. A two-decker on the far left and a hoy in the right foreground both cross the picture plane in starboard-broadside view. The overall narrative is that of showing a British fleet in home waters, with the white cliffs of England in the background.

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