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Ludolf Bakhuizen, The Eendracht and a Fleet of Dutch Men-of-war

Key facts
Full title The Eendracht and a Fleet of Dutch Men-of-war
Artist Ludolf Bakhuizen
Artist dates 1630/1 - 1708
Date made about 1670-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75.5 × 105.5 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bredel Bequest, 1851
Inventory number NG223
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Eendracht and a Fleet of Dutch Men-of-war
Ludolf Bakhuizen

The great ship running before the wind in the centre of Bakhuizen’s picture is the Eendracht, one of the most famous vessels in the Dutch Navy. Built in 1653, the Eendracht was the 76-gun flagship of Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer van Obdam.

Bakhuizen painted the Eendracht several times but always from sketches or memory. The artist’s ship portraits are usually accurate but in this one he is less so. The lion carved into the Dutch coat of arms in the stern should be shown rampant – that is, upright on its hind legs.

But perhaps there is a purpose in Bakhuizen laying his lion low. The picture may portray the fleet’s departure for the Battle of Lowestoft against the English on 3 June 1665. During the action, the Eendracht was blown up and sunk with nearly all the crew, including the Admiral.

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