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The Return of Prince Charles from Spain
1623
Hendrick Vroom

The Return of Prince Charles from Spain 1623 Hendrick Vroom

This large painting shows the English fleet arriving in the Solent led by 'Prince Royal'. It is bearing Prince Charles and the Duke of Buckingham – for whom this version is thought to have been painted – on their return from Spain in October 1623. The fleet is shown approaching Portsmouth, out of sight on the right, the spit of land in the right middle distance being the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight. On the right of the picture and on the port tack is the 'Prince Royal' with the Prince and the Duke on her half-deck and following her on the same tack are the 'St Andrew', 'Defiance' and 'Bonaventure'. On the left of the picture more ships are wearing round and in the background, strung out along the horizon on the starboard tack, is the rest of the fleet – 23 ships in all. In the reign of James I striped ensigns remained popular and this painting shows all the ships in the fleet with ensigns with St George's cross in a small canton and numerous stripes of blue, white and gold.

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