A depiction of an unidentified action from the First Dutch War, 1652-54. The increasing conflict of trade interests between England and the Netherlands in the first half of the 17th century made armed conflict likely and it became inevitable after Cromwell’s Navigation Act of 1651. All three Dutch Wars which followed were solely maritime conflicts. Here, a Dutch ship is depicted in the centre, firing guns from port and starboard. To the right a British ship has sunk, with the stern and red ensign still visible. To the left, the Dutch ship is firing at another British ship, which flies the red ensign and displays an ornately carved stern. A number of figures are depicted on the deck of the Dutch ship. Small craft hover around the sinking British ship, going to the aid of a group of survivors clinging to floating wreckage. Reinier Nooms, known as Zeeman, was born and died in Amsterdam. As his name suggests, he spent his early life at sea, and he painted in the Dutch realist style with a lively palette.