There is another version of this picture in the Rothschild collection, National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, by Willem van de Velde II, dated 1672. Robinson, in his monograph on Van de Velde (loc. cit.), wrote that Ludolf Bakhuizen worked periodically with Van de Velde and his studio during that period, and 'may have painted the sea and the skies, in which he excelled, in some of the pictures by Van de Velde'. Of the present picture - noting that on the basis of a poor reproduction it resembles more closely the work of Bakhuizen - Robinson suggested that it may be by the latter artist and the prime version, of which the Waddesdon picture is a copy largely by Van de Velde's studio.
However, Dr. Gerlinde de Beer, whose forthcoming monograph on the artist, Leben und Werk des Ludolf Backhuysen. 1630-1708 is to be published in March 2002 (Waanders, Zwolle), and whose catalogue raisonné of the artist's works is in preparation, notes that there is no evidence that Bakhuizen ever collaborated with Van de Velde. On the contrary, he from the beginning strove in his painting to achieve an artistic effect that on occasion involved a poetic license that the elder Van de Velde would never have countenanced. Dr. de Beer notes that, from the 1670s, Bakhuizen's palette and his treatment of light and shadow were being imitated by most Netherlandish marine painters, including even the Van de Veldes. She suggests, therefore, that the artist responsible for the present work was re-using the Van de Velde composition, possibly working in the Van de Velde studio, but integrating into it Bakhuizen's palette and use of light.
The same yacht recurs in a painting by Van de Velde of A States Yacht in a fresh breeze running down towards a group of Dutch ships in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (inv. no. 60-16), as well as in his The Eendracht at a council-of-war in a moderate breeze off Texel, 14/24 May 1665 (Paris, Institut Néerlandais, inv. no. 8549). On her tafferel is a shield bearing the lion of the United Provinces surrounded by arms and trophies with putti or naked figures either side; below the shield in the Greenwich painting can be read the motto 'Vigilante deo confidantes' on a ribbon.
We are very grateful to Dr. Gerlinde de Beer for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.