Action between Dutch and English Ships

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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The increasing conflict of trade interests between England and the Netherlands in the first half of the seventeenth century came to a head in 1651, when Cromwell's Navigation Act restricted English trade to English ships and thereby struck at the Dutch position as 'the carriers of Europe'. A Dutch diplomatic mission to resolve problems failed and the first of three rapidly ensuing Anglo-Dutch sea wars broke out in 1652 (until 1654). This painting is thought to relate to an action during either the Second or Third Dutch Wars, 1665–1667 and 1672–1674. The principal ship in the centre of the painting may be the 'Wakende Kraan', 44–46 guns, belonging to the Amsterdam Admiralty. However, although the stern is highly ornate and shows a crest containing a bird, it cannot be positively identified.

National Maritime Museum



Action between Dutch and English Ships


late 17th C


oil on panel


H 49.5 x W 68.5 cm

Accession number


Work type


Inscription description

H. Witmont


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