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An English Ship in Action with Barbary Corsairs
1680
Willem Van de Velde the Younger

An English Ship in Action with Barbary Corsairs 1680 Willem Van de Velde the Younger

An action between an English two-decker and a Barbary two-decker. Although naval historians are unable to relate the action to a specific event, the painting significantly identifies the danger to English ships from such pirates during the 1660s and 1670s.

In the left foreground is an English two-decker, in starboard-bow view, with a light breeze from the port bow, firing guns on both sides. She flies a Union jack and a red ensign, and a pendant with the cross of St George at the main. In the middle distance a little to the right is a Barbary two-decker, viewed from the port bow, on fire amidships and flying a dark flag at the main. Black smoke from the burning Barbary ship covers most of the left half of the painting.

In the right foreground there is a galley sinking with only the forepart and the foremast showing, and a broad red pendant flying at the masthead.

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