The Eendracht and a Dutch Fleet of Men-of-War before the Wind

The Eendracht and a Dutch Fleet of Men-of-War before the Wind

by Ludolph Backhuysen (Ludolf Backhuizen), ca. 1670-75

The National Gallery, London

(image 1920×1200 px733KB)

A Dutch battle fleet and its flagship the Eendracht (Dutch for Concord or Unity) are the subject of this impressive work by Ludolph Backhuysen. The Eendracht was built in 1653 – 1655 in Rotterdam at the Admiralty of de Maze and her construction costs were shared by all seven provinces of the Republic. She had served as a flagship for Admiral Jakob van Wassenaer van Obdam during the Swedish Campaign of 1658-1659 and later participated in the Battle of Lowestoft on June 3rd 1665 where she blew up causing much disarray among the Dutch thus contributing to the English victory. On this painting she is shown flying a long tricolor wimple indicating the presence of an admiral on board.

The depiction of the Eendracht’s ornate stern here is not accurate. In reality the lion was carved rampant and set within a fence symbolizing the borders of the Dutch Republic that he protected. This inaccuracy suggests that the painting was created after the loss of the Eendracht, probably in the early 1670s. This painting is on display in the National Gallery in London.