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PIETER BOUT (BRUSSELS 1640/5-1689) AND HENDRICK DE MEIJER (ROTTERDAM C. 1620-C. 1689)
PIETER BOUT (BRUSSELS 1640/5-1689) AND HENDRICK DE MEIJER (ROTTERDAM C. 1620-C. 1689)

The visit of William III of Orange to Dordrecht in 1672

Details
PIETER BOUT (BRUSSELS 1640/5-1689) AND HENDRICK DE MEIJER (ROTTERDAM C. 1620-C. 1689)
The visit of William III of Orange to Dordrecht in 1672
signed 'P. bout' (lower left, on a boat)
oil on panel
35 7/8 x 60 ½ in. (91.3 x 153.5 cm.)
Provenance
Private collection, Portugal.
with Roy Miles, London, 1972.
with Alan Jacobs Gallery, London, 1972.
Literature
Burlington Magazine, March 1972, p. xxvii.
Burlington Magazine, October 1972, plate XXXIV.
Weltkunst, 15 May 1973, p. 810.
Exhibited
London, Alan Jacobs Gallery, Golden Age of Dutch Painting, Spring 1973.

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Lot Essay

The subject of this lively painting would appear to be the visit of William III, Prince of Orange, to Dordrecht in late July 1672. Known in Dutch as the Rampjaar (‘disaster year’), early 1672 saw the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The United Provinces were invaded, and the presence of the large French army caused widespread panic. Though the Republic had announced in 1650 that they would not appoint another Stadtholder, the chief magistrate and de facto national leader, as it was against their ideals of true liberty, they decided that the situation demanded a unifying figure and they subsequently gave the position to William in July of 1672.

This painting may well depict one of William's first official visits in his new role. A States yacht can be seen in the center of the composition, its gilded cabin adorned with the arms of the Republic supported by a pair of Dutch lions. Various small pleasure craft filled with a veritable cross-section of Dutch society regale the well-dressed figures about to disembark the yacht. To the left of the central grouping of ships is seen a church whose features largely resemble Dordrecht's medieval Grote Kerk, though it must be said that a certain degree of liberty has been taken with its architectural details. From an internal political perspective, the apparent choice of Dordrecht as the background for this scene may have been slightly pointed, as it was traditionally anti-Orangist. Viewed in the context of the foreign threat, a show of unity and strength was of paramount importance. It is not surprising, then, that several other artists appear to have depicted the same event, including Barent van Kalraet in a painting of 1685 which is today in Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam (inv. no. A3734).

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