WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO
WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO
WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO
WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO
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WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO

An English three-decker at anchor in a seaway with a Royal Yacht arriving in the fleet

Details
WILLEM VAN DE VELDE THE YOUNGER (LEIDEN 1633-1707 WESTMINSTER) AND STUDIO
An English three-decker at anchor in a seaway with a Royal Yacht arriving in the fleet
signed and dated 'Ao 1698 W.V. Velde f.' (on driftwood, lower right)
oil on canvas
64 5⁄8 x 120 ½ in. (164.2 x 306 cm.)
Please note that 100% of the hammer proceeds from this auction will be paid to the Sandys Trust, registered charity number: 1168357, with the exception of limited deductions towards sale costs across the auction which cannot be accurately calculated at this time, capped at a total of £10,000.
Provenance
Commissioned by Admiral Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford (1652-1727) for Chippenham Hall, Cambridgeshire, and by inheritance to his great-niece,
Letitia Tipping (1699-1779), wife of Samuel Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys (1695-1770), and by descent to their son,
Edwin Sandys, 2nd Baron Sandys (1726-1797), and by inheritance to his niece,
Mary, Marchioness of Downshire and 1st Baroness Sandys (1764-1836), and by descent to her second son,
Lieutenant-General Arthur Hill, 2nd Baron Sandys (1792-1860), and by inheritance to his younger brother,
Arthur Marcus Sandys, 3rd Baron Sandys (1798-1863), and by descent in the family to,
Richard Hill, 7th Baron Sandys (1931-2013), at Ombersley Court, Worcestershire.
Literature
J. Grego, Inventory of Pictures: Portraits, Paintings, etc., Ombersley MS., 1905, where listed in the Great Dining Hall.
ONM / 1 / 2 / 7, journal entry for a visit to Ombersley Court, 25 August 1950, Oliver Millar Archive, Paul Mellon Centre, London, p. 29.
A. Oswald, 'Ombersley Court, Worcestershire - II', Country Life, 9 January 1953, p. 96, pl. 8.
Ombersley Court Inventory, annotated Ombersley MS., June 1963, where listed in the Dining Room.
M.S. Robinson, Van de Velde: A Catalogue of the Paintings of the Elder and Younger Willem van de Velde, Greenwich, 1990, II, pp. 968 and 969, no. 636.
Ombersley Court Catalogue of Pictures, undated, Ombersley MS., p. 28, where listed in the Ballroom.
Exhibited
London, Earl's Court, Naval, Shipping and Fisheries Exhibition, 1905, no. 418 or 420, both described as 'Naval Battle'.

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Lot Essay

Michael Robinson (op. cit. p. 968) plausibly speculated that this painting, which is signed and dated 1698, may represent the occasion on which Edward Russell was sent to escort the queen of Spain along the northern coast of Galicia en route to Coruña. In December 1689, Russell travelled to Holland to pick up the Spanish queen aboard the Fubbs, a ketch-rigged yacht, and alongside several fourth-rates and frigates. The party departed Holland in mid-January 1690 and, upon reaching the Downs, Russell returned with the queen to his flagship, the Duke, a three-decker, aboard which they continued their journey. Due to contrary winds, the squadron was delayed, only arriving in Coruña on 16 March 1690.

As Robinson noted, the three-decker in this painting cannot be identified with Russell’s most famous flagship, the Britannia, whose figurehead depicted a horse and rider. Instead, the ship shown here employs a figurehead of a crowned lion with a small rider on its back, a figurehead typical of the ones employed on nine three-deckers that were built under the 1677 building programme. The Duke itself was built in 1682. A drawing of the Duke by van de Velde the Younger (sold Sotheby Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 3 May 1976, lot 162) suggests it is the one portrayed in this painting.

The use of the Union flag on this ship is consistent with Russell’s command of a detached squadron. While no special flags for the queen are evident, the flagship employs pendants at the mastheads and yardarms, which likely signifies that we are witnessing some important occasion.

According to Robinson, the ketch-rigged yacht seen from the stern at left may well be the Fubbs, on which Russell sailed on his trip to meet the queen. A drawing showing a starboard broadside view of this ship is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (inv. no. 1916-50). As here, the vessel has two square windows on the stern with a small royal arms between them and a coat-of-arms flanked on either side by a horse and rider on the tafferel above.

We are grateful to Remmelt Daalder for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.

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