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The 'Gouden Leeuw' at the Battle of the Texel, August 21,1673
1687
Willem Van de Velde the Younger

The 'Gouden Leeuw' at the Battle of the Texel, August 21,1673  1687 Willem Van de Velde the Younger

The Battle of Texel was the last battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, 1672–1674 between the Dutch and the English and French. It represented the final attempt by the Allies to destroy the Dutch fleet and leave the coast free for an invasion of Holland from the sea.

Of the many pictures painted by van de Velde of this battle, this is the largest and regarded as the most important. In the distance is the rear-admiral of the third squadron, J. de Haen, in the 'Hollandia', with a striped flag and pendant at the mizzen. The next ship to the right is the 'Woerden' with the arms of Woerden on the tafferel, but in fact this ship was not at the battle. On the 'Woerden's' port beam is the 'Komeeetster', the ship to which Tromp shifted his flag when the 'Gouden Leeuw' became unmanageable.

Tromp's flagship 'Gouden Leeuw' dominates the composition and is seen slightly to the left of centre, in starboard-quarter view. Her lion motif is visible on the stern and she is firing to port and starboard. She flies the double-prince six-striped Dutch flag at the main and as an ensign, and a pendant at the mizzen to indicate a ship of the third or rear squadron. Her port guns are firing at the 'Charles' in the left background. This is flying Rear-Admiral Sir John Chicheley's red flag at the mizzen, shown falling as the mizzen topmast is shot away.

Further away on the right and beyond a dismasted English ship sinking on the right foreground is the 'Royal Prince' viewed from before the starboard beam, with the blue flag of Sir Edward Spragge at the main. In the distance between the 'Gouden Leeuw' and the 'Prince' a ship is shown before the wind. Since flags are shown flying at every masthead this is probably intended to be the 'Royal Sovereign' with the English Lord Admiral, Prince Rupert, on board.

The date of the painting indicates that it was commissioned by Cornelis Tromp, to show his flagship. He was known to have close links with the English court under Charles II, who made him a baronet.

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