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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H , Case CUP, Shelf 3, Box 6

Naval Engagement

Oil Painting
ca. 1692-1720 (painted)
Artist/Maker

A grisaille pen and ink drawing on oak of a naval engagement between the English and the French. Adriaen van Salm (1657-1720) worked as a schoolmaster and textile merchant in Delfshaven near Rotterdam. He also specialised in pen-painting, a branch of Dutch 17th-century maritime painting that experimented with the pictorial effects of blurring the boundaries between painting and the more linear graphic arts. Such scenes were executed in grisaille, a black and white rendering. Van Salm’s aptitude for penschilderij, the technique of drawing onto a prepared oil ground using a reed pen and Indian ink, has attracted comparisons with Willem van de Velde the Elder. Van de Velde was, most likely, the inventor of this particular technique. 600-1886 shows a naval battle between the English and the French, and the artist has captured the dramatic movement of the rolling and sinking boats in the waves under a clear sky. The composition is carefully constructed, divided between earth and sky, punctuated with the verticals of the masts and given a sense of depth by the contrasting diagonal of the advancing waves. The painting's spatial recession is enhanced by the technique of the pen-painting itself. Lines and shapes lighten as they move towards the horizon and the foreground is darker by employing parallel hatching. Although the work exploits these innovative techniques to their fullest, the painting should nonetheless be considered within to the tradition of the Dutch seascapes depicting everyday life in the North Sea, by earlier artists such as Jan Porcellis in the first half of the 17th century.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on oak panel
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'Naval Engagement', Adriaen van Salm, ca. 1692-1720
Physical Description
A grisaille pen and ink drawing on oak of a naval engagement between English and French ships
Dimensions
  • Height: 182mm (unframed)
  • Width: 260mm (unframed)
  • Height: 226mm
  • Width: 305mm
  • Depth: 30mm (framed)
Checked and confirmed by Conservation for Europe 1600-1800
Style
Object history
Purchased, 1886



Historical significance: Adriaen van Salm (1657-1720) worked as a schoolmaster and textile merchant in Delfshaven near Rotterdam. He also specialised in pen-painting, a branch of Dutch 17th-century maritime painting that experimented with the pictorial effects of blurring the boundaries between painting and the more linear graphic arts. Such scenes were executed in grisaille, a black and white rendering. Van Salm’s aptitude for penschilderij, the technique of drawing onto a prepared oil ground using a reed pen and Indian ink, has attracted comparisons with Willem van de Velde the Elder. Van de Velde was, most likely, the inventor of this particular technique. 600-1886 shows a naval battle between the English and the French, and according to Dr. Roger Quarm (written communication, March, 2010) is almost certainly the Battle of Barfleur (19-22 May 1692). The artist has captured the dramatic movement of the rolling and sinking boats in the waves under a clear sky. The composition is carefully constructed, divided between earth and sky, punctuated with the verticals of the masts and given a sense of depth by the contrasting diagonal of the advancing waves. The painting's spatial recession is enhanced by the technique of the pen-painting itself. Lines and shapes lighten as they move towards the horizon and the foreground is darker by employing parallel hatching. Although the work exploits these innovative techniques to their fullest, the painting should nonetheless be considered within to the tradition of the Dutch seascapes depicting everyday life in the North Sea, by earlier artists such as Jan Porcellis in the first half of the 17th century. 600-1886 is similar in composition and subject to van Salm's Naval Engagement between Dutch, English and French Ships (Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam,

A.2766)
Historical context
Marine paintings present sea subjects with particular attention to ships and shipping. When marine painting emerged as a distinct genre, in the 17th-century Dutch Republic, the initial focus was on large, publicly commissioned history paintings commemorating naval engagements against the Spanish and important political and commercial events. The genre was largely developed by Hendrick Vroom and from the 1620s onwards a market developed for smaller marine paintings, by such artists as Porcellis, de Vlieger, van de Cappelle, and van de Velde the younger, in which the interest lies in the broader depiction of atmospheric effects and the behaviour of the sea in various conditions. The Anglo-Dutch Wars (1652–74) revived interest in publicly commissioned historical painting, and after both Willem van de Velde and his son were appointed as painters to Charles II, the market in marine painting moved to London. The early marine paintings of Turner emulated those of the earlier Dutch painters such as van de Cappelle and van de Velde the younger, but Turner's more dramatic vision inspired the next generation of marine artists, and he superseded van de Velde as their model. His influence is apparent in the work of many marine artists, such as Edward William Cooke (1811–80), and Clarkson Stanfield (1793–1867), who continued to flourish in England throughout the 19th century.
Subjects depicted
Summary
A grisaille pen and ink drawing on oak of a naval engagement between the English and the French. Adriaen van Salm (1657-1720) worked as a schoolmaster and textile merchant in Delfshaven near Rotterdam. He also specialised in pen-painting, a branch of Dutch 17th-century maritime painting that experimented with the pictorial effects of blurring the boundaries between painting and the more linear graphic arts. Such scenes were executed in grisaille, a black and white rendering. Van Salm’s aptitude for penschilderij, the technique of drawing onto a prepared oil ground using a reed pen and Indian ink, has attracted comparisons with Willem van de Velde the Elder. Van de Velde was, most likely, the inventor of this particular technique. 600-1886 shows a naval battle between the English and the French, and the artist has captured the dramatic movement of the rolling and sinking boats in the waves under a clear sky. The composition is carefully constructed, divided between earth and sky, punctuated with the verticals of the masts and given a sense of depth by the contrasting diagonal of the advancing waves. The painting's spatial recession is enhanced by the technique of the pen-painting itself. Lines and shapes lighten as they move towards the horizon and the foreground is darker by employing parallel hatching. Although the work exploits these innovative techniques to their fullest, the painting should nonetheless be considered within to the tradition of the Dutch seascapes depicting everyday life in the North Sea, by earlier artists such as Jan Porcellis in the first half of the 17th century.
Associated Object
599-1886 (Set)
Bibliographic References
  • Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 255-256, cat. no. 318.
  • J. B. van Overeem, 'De Schilders A. en R. (van der) Salm' in Rotterdams Jaarboekje, 1958, list I, no. 37.
Collection
Accession Number
600-1886

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record createdApril 10, 2007
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