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A Shallow Sea with Fishing Boats

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A seascape showing fishing boats to the left and right. This scene, bathed in golden light, is dominated by a rarefied, cloud-filled sky which takes up approximately three quarters of the picture surface and is ostensibly the main subject of the work. While thick grey clouds are predominant in the upper corners of the composition, bright white clouds threaten to burst forth in the centre of the sky. In contrast, the sea is painted in a series of thin brown stripes and peaks. In the foreground, to the right, a small rowing boat or shallop, holding four figures, leads the eye towards the flat horizon. One of the figures rows the boat while another stands upright in order to tend fishing nets. On the left a coastal craft, probably a smalschip, flies a Dutch flag and edges towards the middle of the composition. It is shown in distant port-quarter view, with its leeboard visible and several men standing on the deck. On either side of this boat, other vessels are depicted as silhouettes in the distance. The vessel, which is silhouetted to the right of the smalschip, lies at anchor broadside. Two further smalschips appear on the far right, one of which is starkly illuminated by the break in the clouds. This vessel is rigged with square foresail and mainsail and flies the Dutch flag.

National Maritime Museum





oil on panel


H 32 x W 56 cm

Accession number


Work type



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National Maritime Museum

Romney Road, Greenwich, London, Greater London SE10 9NF England

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