By Willem van de Velde, the Elder, 1666-1693
Willem van de Velde the Elder had accompanied the Dutch Fleet in a galliot to witness the events of the Four Days Battle that took place on June 11-14 1666 off the Flemish and English coasts. He sketched every phase and every detail of the battle. This drawing shows the Dutch fleet on the day before the battle began. The Dutch government had recently abandoned its opposition to bigger vessels and on this picture we can see some new powerful Dutch ships like de Ruyter’s new flagship “De Zeven Provinciën” of 80 guns, equivalent to English second rates. In addition to the new bigger ships the Dutch had mustered a fleet bigger than the opponent’s: eighty-six ships against fewer than sixty in the English squadron.
Colored drawing by Johan Herman Isings (from the sketch by Willem van de Velde, the Elder)