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In June 1667, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665 to 1667, the Dutch carried out a daring raid up the River Medway. They captured the 'Royal Charles' at Chatham, which was a particular humiliation for the English because it was originally the Commonwealth warship 'Naseby', which had brought back Charles II from the Netherlands at his Restoration in 1660 and had been renamed by him on that occasion. The artist depicts the English ship, considered to be one of the finest in the fleet, brought back to Hellevoetsluis in Holland in triumph – presumably as a commission for a Dutchman involved in the raid. The royal coat of arms, clearly visible on the ship's stern, is now largely preserved in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. In this painting the 'Royal Charles' can be seen in the centre under small sail, with a Dutch Admiralty or States yacht to the left, flying a white flag with an anchor as well as the Dutch pennant. To the left of the 'Royal Charles' is a man-of-war showing the Dutch flag and pennant at the main masthead. There are other smaller vessels amidst the larger ships.
Dutch Attack on the Medway: the 'Royal Charles' Carried into Dutch Waters, 12 June 1667
oil on canvas
H 121.9 x W 198.1 cm