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An interpretation of an action during the First Dutch War, 1652–1654. The increasing conflict of trade interests between England and the Netherlands in the first half of the seventeenth century made armed conflict inevitable. All three Anglo-Dutch wars which followed were solely maritime conflicts. By early 1653 the English forces were split and their position in the Mediterranean became critical. Captain Badiley was trapped with four men-of-war at Porto Longone in Elba, and Captain Appleton with the 'Leopard' and five hired merchantmen, was similarly placed at Leghorn, where the Dutch fleet was also hovering.
As a consequence of the battle, the Dutch were left in command of the Mediterranean. In the foreground Appleton, in the 'Leopard', is fighting a losing battle between two Dutchmen. The ship on the left is the Dutch 'Zon' which was subsequently sunk. It has the emblem of the sun carved on its stern. To the right, the rest of the ships are depicted in action.
oil on canvas
H 65 x W 117 cm