With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with enamel scene Le Coup de Canon in 1975 and its subsequent sale on May 31st, 1976.
Madame M. Bischoff, along with S. Rohr, G. Menni, L. Pellarin-LeRoy, and Mme May-Mercier, the artist of Lot 332 in this sale, is considered one of the very few enamellers capable of producing such exquisite works of art for Patek Philippe.
Reference 866 was launched by Patek Philippe in the early 1970's as a keyless lever open-faced pocket watch. Approximately 150 decorated watches using this reference were made, with the last known examples produced in the 1990's.
The present reference 866/58 depicts a miniature enamel of Der Kanonenschuss, also known as Le Coup de Canon by Dutch painter Willem van de Velde.
Most frequently known as Willem van de Velde der Jüngere, or the younger, he was born in 1633 in Leiden, a city in the Dutch province of South Holland. He learned the craft of painting and drating from his father, Willem van de Velde the elder. Around 1648, he moved to Weesp, a town in the province of North Holland and studied under Dutch painter Simon de Vlieger, who was known for his somber and atmospheric seascapes. By 1652, van de Velde moved back to Amsterdam, where he took up working in his father's studio. His earliest paintings were signed by van de Velde the elder, as head of the studio. For the first half of his career, he painted the victories of the Ducthmen over the English fleet. By the mid-1670's, he began receiving orders from England to paint naval pieces from the English side, including works for Charles II and the Duke of York, and from 1678, father and son signed their works separately.
The Golden Age of Dutch Painting, roughly the seventeenth century in the Netherlands, is characterized by the tradition of realistic art, as well as the proliferation of pictorial genres, with the majority of artists choosing to specialize in one particular genre. The theme of maritime and the marines were immensely popular during this period, given the importance of maritime trade and naval warfare, especially against Britain and Spain. Both Willem van de Velde der Jünger and his father were known for using the ship as the main subject of their compositions, while other artists tended to focus on the sea and the weather conditions.
Willem van de Velde der Jünger painted Der Kanonenschuss around 1670. The painting depicts a Dutch ship with a cloud of smoke in the background, having just fired a canon. This painting was completed at the height of the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, and is one of the most well-known paintings from this period to feature a maritime theme. The painting was bequeated to the city of Amsterdam by Adriaan van der Hoop (1778-1854), and was lent by the city of Amsterdam to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam on June 30, 1885.
Similar miniature enamel decorated pocket watches are illustrated in Patek Philippe Pocket Watches by M. Huber & A. Banbery, 1982, pages 167-168.