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The Battle of Scheveningen, 31 July 1653

Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten, The Battle of Scheveningen, 31 July 1653, oil on canvas, 1235 x 1765 mm, dated ca. 1654. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection

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The final battle of the First Dutch War, 1652-54, was a disaster for the Dutch. They lost about 15 ships and their great leader ‘Maarten Tromp’ was killed at the beginning of the action. As a result of it, the English were in a position to impose fairly harsh terms on the Dutch at the ensuing peace conference. In the foreground of the painting, to the far right, a Dutch ship is sinking and to the far left an English ship is sinking. In the centre of the painting is a starboard-quarter view of the ‘Brederode’, Tromp’s flagship, engaged in furious action with English ships on both sides. In the left background, Monck, the English General-at-Sea in ‘Resolution’, is in action with four Dutch ships, while on the extreme right the two ships burning probably represent the ‘Andrew’ and the ‘Triumph’. The painting is indistinctly signed on a spar in mid-foreground. The artist was born in Amsterdam and painted sea battles and port scenes.

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