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Two Views of an East Indiaman of the Time of William III

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A portrait of a powerfully armed East India Company vessel, identifiable by the striped ensign, jack and pendants. A further mark of identification is the cypher positioned above the taffrail. The ship is shown from two positions, on the left it is in port-broadside view, with the bow slightly turned towards the viewe,. On the right it is viewed from astern, showing the ornately carved figures of the transom. Crew can be seen in the rigging in the view to the right, busy with the sails or climbing the shrouds. On the left the anchor is visible and one figure can be seen on the deck. The artist has incoprorated several sea beasts in the foreground, probably dolphins, a typical motif of Dutch seventeenth-century artists. The vessel mounts over 60 guns, which would however have been smaller than those in a man-of-war of equivalent size. The stepped deck aft is a feature of merchantmen, to give greater headroom in the cabins. The gunports located in the stern galleries above the transom are a very unusual feature, since the galleries were not normally sufficiently strongly built to withstand the recoil of guns.

National Maritime Museum

London


Date

c.1685

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 126.5 x W 119.7 cm

Accession number

BHC1676

Work type

Painting


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National Maritime Museum

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

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