Experiens Sillemans worked in the style of Willem van de Velde the Elder. His oeuvre consists of engravings and penschilderingen on panels. The latter date from 1649 to 1652.
The present penschilderij is an autograph contre-epreuve by the artist. This rare technique for pen paintings was typical for Sillemans. He used counter-proofs of etching plates in a multiple-production technique for transferring a design in whole or part onto gesso-coated wooden panels, before completing them by hand with pen and oils. Another autograph work with the same composition in this method of offset printing is in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (for this version and for a description of the technique, see D. Freedberg, 'Paintings or Prints? Experiens Sillemans and the Origins of the Grisaille Sea-Piece: Notes on a Rediscovered Technique', Print Quarterly, 1, 1984, pp. 148-68).
We are grateful to Mr. Friso Lammertse of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam for confirming the attribution on the basis of a colour transparency.