VELDE, Willem van de, the Younger
(b. 1633, Leiden, d. 1707, London)

The Jupiter and Another Dutch Ship Wrecked on a Rocky Coast in a Gale

Oil on canvas, 120 x 158 cm
Private collection

This highly dramatic scene captures the struggle of two Dutch and one English ship in a howling gale as they battle to avoid a huge boulder and the shore itself. A powerful wind gusts from the left, knocking the Dutch ship Jupiter (far left) to a forty-five degree angle in the water as she attempts to claw off the land on the port tack. We see her almost full stern. Immediately in the centre is another Dutch ship, in greater difficulty still having lost her head and bowsprit in her collision with the rock. A lifeboat pulls out from the port quarter filled with sailors bound for the shore. Beyond it is an English ship, head to wind, presumably at anchor and drifting ashore.

The painting depicts an actual event in 1653 during the first Anglo-Dutch War. The leftmost ship is identifiable by its tafferel decoration showing Jupiter riding an eagle.