KNYFF, Jacob
(b. 1639, Haarlem, d. 1681, London)

An English Ship and other Shipping off Castle Cornet, Guernsey

Oil on canvas, 218 x 165 cm
Private collection

The imposing Castle Cornet was built in the thirteenth century to guard the safe anchorage of St Peter Port in Guernsey. By the fifteenth century much of it had been rebuilt, and it was further altered by Henry VIII, who ordered it to be strengthened to withstand artillery attacks. In the Civil War the castle remained loyal to Charles I, whilst the island of Guernsey supported Cromwell, and the castle was besieged for almost nine years. After the Civil War General Lambert, one of Cromwell's most important supporters, was imprisoned there between 1661 and 1670. A serious explosion in 1672 destroyed the Castle's Tower, Chapel and the Governor's residence. A vessel in the background of the present work is firing a salute which may mark the return of the Governor to the Castle.