12 September 2000
Circle of Willem Isaacsz. Swanenburgh (1581-1612), after Jacques de Gheijn
Prince Maurits of Nassau and others in the landyachts on the beach between Scheveningen and Petten
etching, with margins and with the usual vertical central fold and text on the reverse, watermark Atlas, apparently in very good condition, unexamined out of the frame
P. 43.6 x 57 cm.
The present print shows the two 'wind carriages', built on instruction of Prince Maurits of Nassau, on a trip on the beach of the Dutch coast between Scheveningen and Petten in circa 1600. The 'ships' were said to cover seven Dutch landmiles per hour, or some thirty-nine kilometers. The distance between Scheveningen and Petten is some eighty kilometers, so the trip is likely to have taken somewhat more than two hours, using wind from the south east.
The passengers on the land yachts included Prince Maurits who took the helm, Prince Frederik Hendrik, the French ambassador de Busenval, ambassadors from the emperor, and Admiral Don Francisco de Mendosa who had been taken prisoner during the battle of Nieuwpoort in 1600. In all there were twenty-eight passengers aboard the two yachts; Dutch, English, French and Danish noblemen.
While it is generally assumed that the land yacht was invented by Simon Stevin, such ships were previously reported by Huygen van Linschoten to have been seen in China.
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