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The Dutch Fleet under Sail
1672
Willem van de Velde The Elder

The Dutch Fleet under Sail 1672 Willem van de Velde The Elder

The Dutch Fleet under Sail is believed to be a depiction of the Dutch battle fleet prepared to set sail for the Medway and Sheerness in 1667. This expedition commanded by Admiral De Ruyter resulted in a stunning success. Much of the English navy was destroyed or captured. The Dutch ships that took part in that attack are represented on this painting. At the right is the Witte Olifant (built 1666) easily recognizable by a white elephant on her stern. Further right is the Vrijheid (the Freedom, built 1651, blown up in action 1676). To the left of the Witte Olifant is the Zeelandia with the coat of arms of Zeelandia on her stern. The center of the painting is occupied by the Gouden Leeuw (built 1666), with the image of a rampant golden lion on her tafferel. In the left foreground is the Huis Tijdverdrijf. In the left background the Zeven Provincien is seen. Her stern is decorated with the coat of arms of the seven Provinces of the Republic.