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The English Yacht 'Portsmouth' at Anchor

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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To the right is the 'Portsmouth', yacht, lying at anchor in shallow water in a calm, in starboard-broadside view. Her deck is crowded with people. She is flying a jack from the bow, the red ensign from the stern and a pennant from the main mast. Built at Woolwich by Sir Phineas Pett in 1674, this 8-gun yacht was named after the Duchess of Portsmouth (Louise de Keroualle, one of Charles II's mistresses). The detailing of the vessel has been carefully delineated and ship's boat with three people in it is lying astern. In the left background in broad starboard-quarter view is a two-decker firing a salute, with her hull mostly concealed by the smoke. She flies a small red ensign at the stern with a jack on her bowsprit, while the absence of a pennant may be due to overcleaning, In the centre distance is a ship under sail in fine-starboard-bow view. Oil paintings by van de Velde the Elder are rare and although he undoubtedly painted the hull of the ship it is possible that the sails were put in by the Younger.

National Maritime Museum



The English Yacht 'Portsmouth' at Anchor




oil on panel


H 74.4 x W 95.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

National Maritime Museum (Greenwich Hospital Collection)

Work type



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National Maritime Museum

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