We are very grateful to Dr. Willem van de Watering for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs and for noting two other versions of the same composition have been sold, the first in these rooms, London, 2 April 1976, lot 80, the second at Sotheby's, New York, 16 May 1996, lot 80.
The artist belonged to a family of painters in Amsterdam, including his father, Jan Jansz. Sturch, who later changed his name to Sturckenburch, and two brothers, Johannes and Jacobus. Of the four, only paintings by Jacobus and Abraham are known to survive. Trained by his father, Abraham was greatly influenced by Ludolf Bakhuizen in the pictorial treatment of sky and water, but he also absorbed influences from other well-known Amsterdam marine painters, notably Willem van de Velde II and Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten (the Beerstraten and Storck families were close friends and distantly related by marriage). The Van de Veldes, father and son, may have inspired Storck's accuracy in the rendering of ships' rigging and technical details, which is admired by naval historians.
The emphasis on merchants, stevedores and other figures in his habour subjects gave Storck an opportunity to exercise his considerable skill in painting the human figure, a skill that many other marine painters lacked and that is clearly demonstrated in the present work. Like Johannes Lingelbach, he seems to have on occasion painted the staffage in other painters' scenic views (for example The Dam at Amsterdam by Jan van Kessel in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, or the Wooded landscape by Meindert Hobbema sold in Christie's London, 11 July 2001). Storck was also an excellent draughtsman, and drawings by him are preserved in several museums, including in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Vienna, Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.