The National Maritime Museum holds the largest collection of marine paintings in the world. It is especially rich in the Dutch and English schools, with an outstanding collection of works by the van de Veldes. These demonstrate how marine art in England developed from the example set by seventeenth-century Dutch artists in celebrating the ships, battles and people that make up a 'maritime nation'. The collection includes portraiture, war art, shipping and port scenes. The Museum's collection of portraits covering the period 1500 to the present day is unrivalled outside the National Portrait Gallery. It comprises a wide and varied range of both maritime and non-maritime sitters, naval and merchant service officers, scientists, British royalty and non-British sitters. Many items in the collection are of unique artistic quality, being significant in their own right as works of art, and they represent a cross section of British portraiture. Of particular note are the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century portraits by some of the leading artists of the period. These include the famous series of portraits painted by Lely, the ‘flagmen’ of the Battle of Lowestoft (1665), and portraits by Hogarth, Reynolds and Gainsborough.