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Willem van de Velde

1633 - 1707

Willem van de Velde was the leading Dutch marine painter of the later 17th century. His later paintings shaped the development of seascape painting in England in the 18th century. They are mainly representations of particular vessels and naval events.

Willem van de Velde was born in Leiden. He was the son of the painter Willem van de Velde the Elder, and the brother of Adriaen van de Velde, who was a landscape and figure painter. He was probably trained by his father, who was famous for his accurate monochrome representations of ships on panel. He was also trained by Simon de Vlieger.

Van de Velde was active in Amsterdam, where the family settled, until 1672 when as a consequence of the economic collapse brought about by the French invasion he was forced to move to England to earn his living. By 1674 he and his father had entered the service of Charles II, and he had the use of a studio in the Queen's House at Greenwich, before moving to Westminster in 1691.