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Shipping off a harbour forms the subject of this cabinet piece, which is one of a pair of early marine paintings on copper; see also BHC0733. The ship on the left flying the Dutch flag from the foremast is in full sail as it moves across the harbour. Figures can be seen climbing the rigging and others are visible on deck. A smaller vessel sails in its wake and another coastal craft is shown in the foreground. An English ship on the right of the painting is shown in port-broadside view moving through the water towards the land. It flies the St George's flag at the stern and a red and white ensign, the Stuart colours, from the main. Another coastal craft is visible in the foreground on the far right. Land is shown in the distance with a church and windmill visible on the skyline, together with topographical detailing such as hills. The landscape may be Holland since the ships are contained by land on the right and left in the distance.
The artist was known initially to be a cabinet-maker resident in Haarlem. He is recorded as living in Amsterdam as a painter by 1617. In 1623 he wrote to the States General trying to interest them in his invention for blocking certain harbours to prevent enemy shipping entering or leaving. He is known to have visited France, since he painted a view of Paris in 1637. The artist has signed this painting 'Verwer' on the Dutch flag flying from the foremast of the ship on the left.
oil on copper
H 12.7 x W 25.4 cm