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Small Dutch Vessels in a Breeze
Studio of Willem van de Velde

Two sailing boats – a flat-bottomed kaag and smaller, more open weyschuit, which had a similar rig – are shown in the foreground. They appear to be at the mouth of a harbour or estuary. One sails towards and the other away from a black buoy. This is a similar composition to another van de Velde painting in the National Gallery: Two Small Vessels and a Dutch Man-of-War in a Breeze.

In the background a man-of-war, or battleship, is at anchor, while another lies in the far distance. A third, to the right, is under sail. The Dutch Navy was one of the most powerful in the world at the time, powerful enough to launch a successful raid on the British Navy around the time this painting was made (the Raid on the Medway in 1667).

This seascape may have been made by artists in van de Velde’s studio, copying an earlier work by him.

Key facts
Artist Studio of Willem van de Velde
Artist dates 1633 - 1707
Full title Small Dutch Vessels in a Breeze
Date made after 1660
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 21 x 29.6 cm
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG977
Location in Gallery Not on display
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