Willem van de Velde the Elder: The Council of War aboard "The Seven Provinces" on 10 June 1666 (1666-1693)


 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

This magnificent drawing is an episode during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665 - 1667). Shown here is a council of War onboard the flagship of the Dutch fleet, "The Seven Provinces" - also the flagship of admiral Michiel Adriaensz de Ruyter. Admiral de Ruyter has raised a white flag on his flagship (the ship on the right, seen from behind), a sign that he is calling all admirals for a war council onboard his ship. The small boats surrounding "The Seven Provinces" are carrying the Dutch admirals. Several ships on the drawing have a pennant (a long narrow flag), these ships are flagships of an admiral. The text below explains that this war council was done on 10 June 1666, the day before the Four Days' Battle (11 - 14 June 1666). This sea battle is one of the longest naval engagements in history with about 200 ships in total. Although the battle didn't have a clear victor, the Dutch inflicted significant damage on the English fleet so the battle is regarded as a tactical and strategic victory for the Dutch. The artist of this drawing, Willem van de Velde the Elder, sailed with the Dutch fleet and this drawing was made by van de Velde on the spot. This drawing is from 1666-1693.

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