Willem Van De Velde the Elder
1611 - 1693

Willem Van De Velde the Elder 1611 - 1693

Willem van de Velde, known as the Elder, a marine draughtsman and painter, was born in Leiden, the son of a Flemish skipper, Willem Willemsz. van de Velde, and is commonly said to have been bred to the sea. He married Judith Adriaensdochter van Leeuwen in Leiden, the Netherlands, in 1631. His three known legitimate children were named Magdalena, born 1632; Willem, known as the Younger, also a marine painter, born 1633; and Adriaen, a landscape painter, born 1636.

He was the official artist of the Dutch fleet for a period, being present at the Four Days Battle in June of 1666, and the St James's Day Battle in July of 1666, to make sketches, asking Admiral de Ruyter permission to have a galley row him
around for a good view of the proceedings on the evening of the Four Days battle in 1666.

This act later was the reason that van Velde gained his marine commission in London. The date, 1672, commonly given for his entry into the service of Charles II of England, was at a time when the Dutch Republic was at war with England (Third Anglo-Dutch War).