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Contemporary prints and maps of the battles and sieges of the Eighty Years War

Salomon Savery (1594-1678)

Battle of Gibraltar, 1607 1639 or later

Engraving and etching; printed from two copperplates on two sheets of paper, joined | 49.3 x 72.6 cm (image and neatline) | RCIN 721131

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A print representing three major Dutch naval victories with portraits of Dutch admirals Jacob van Heemskerk (13 March 1567-25 April 1607) with a view of the Battle of Gibraltar, 25 April 1607; Pieter Pietersz. Heijn (25 November 1577-18 June 1629), with a view of his taking the Spanish Silver Fleet in 1628; and Maarten van Tromp with the Battle of Dunkirk, 1639, in the background. Eighty Years War (Dutch War of Independence (1568-1648).

See the notes to RCIN 721130.a for the Battle of Gibraltar.

Pieter Pietersz. Hein whose portrait is top right, was a seaman who was held captive by the Spanish between 1603 and 1607. He joined the Dutch East India Company in 1607, becoming Vice-Admiral of that company in 1623. In 1628 he captured part of a Spanish treasure fleet carrying silver in Matanzas Bay off the north Cuban coast and the ensuing prize funded the Dutch army for eight months. In 1629, Hein was made ‘Admiral of Holland’ but shortly afterwards he was killed in the Battle of the Downs, fought against Dunkirk privateers who were operating on behalf of Spain.

The main portrait is of Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (23 April 1598-10 August 1653). Tromp had fought with Heijn in the Battle of the Downs. He was appointed Lieutenant-Admiral under the Stadtholder, Prince Frederick Henry of Orange. His great victory was the Battle of the Downs, shown in the background of this print, which was fought on 21 October 1639, when he defeated a large Spanish fleet off the coast of Kent.

This is the second state of the print and is distinguished from the first by the direction in which Tromp’s head is facing. Here, it faces slightly to the left while in the first state it faces to the right. According to Muller (FMH 1598) and Hollstein (202-I) the main portrait is not of Tromp but of Hein but there is no doubt that this is a misidentification; this conclusion is also asserted in the catalogue entry for the first state of the print which is in the Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-47.494). 

The key to the letters and numbers on the print is lacking. These were printed in letterpress, together with a letterpress title, which appear to have been printed on the same sheet, below the view and portraits. It is illustrated in Hollstein (202-II, p.107). The letterpress title to this second state of the print reads: ZEE-TRIOMPH VANDEN MANHAFTEN E. ADMIRAEL MARTEN HARPERSEN TROMP MITSGADERS DEN SLAGH TER ZEE TVSSCHEN HEM EN DE DVYNKERCKERS, Anno 1639.

A full length representation of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, beneath the arms of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, borne aloft in the sea on a shell chariot pulled by two horses with, to the left, a partly clad maiden carrying a flag with the Orange-Nassau arms; to the right, another female figure carrying the Dutch flag; to the left, a Triton dips the vanquished Spanish flag into sea; to the right, another Triton holds a shield with crossed anchors, with a view of the Battle of Dunkirk, 18 February 1639, in the background; top left, an oval head and shoulders portrait.

  • Salomon Savery (1594-1678) (printmaker)

  • Watermark: A bunch of grapes with a fleur-de-lys or crown above

    Condition: three fold lines; brown discolouration; small piece missing from right edge; unevenly cut along bottom edge; pressure marks from the mounts of items which were kept above and below this map/print in a different collection are present on the recto and verso.
    Verso: remains of old guard along centre fold.

  • 49.3 x 72.6 cm (image and neatline)

    cropped (platemark)

    49.9 x 76.3 cm (sheet)

  • Printed titles:

    No title. [Full length representation of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, beneath the arms of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, borne aloft in the sea on a shell chariot pulled by two horses with, to the left, a partly clad maiden carrying a flag with the Orange-Nassau arms; to the right, another female figure carrying the Dutch flag; to the left, a Triton dips the vanquished Spanish flag into sea; to the right, another Triton holds a shield with crossed anchors, with a view of the Battle of Dunkirk, 18 February 1639, in the background; top left, an oval head and shoulders portrait with, in reverse lettering around the oval:] IACOB AB HEEMSKERCK AMSTELREDAMENSIS

    Printed title:

    PIETER PIETERZ HEYN VAN DELFSHAVEN [top right, an oval bust length portrait with, around the edge of the oval]

    Printed title:

    Den zee Slaght van den / Moedigen Admirael Iacob / Heemskerk inde Bay Gibraltar [left of centre, a vignette contained in ornate scroll work]

    Printed title:

    Het Nemen van de Siluer vloot / Door den Manhafte Admirael / Pieter Pi: Heyn. [right of centre, a vignette]

    Annotations:

    George III heading: Naval Engagement in the Bay of Gibraltar 25 April 1607 and victory obtained by the Dutch over the Spanish Plate Fleet in 1628.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [top left, red pencil:] 1607; [right of centre, red pencil:] 1/114; [right of centre, black pencil:] I/118; [top, right of centre, black pencil, erased:] Gibraltar.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Naval Engagement A View of the Naval Engagement between the Spanish Fleet and the Dutch Fleet commanded by Admiral Heemskerk in the Bay of Gibraltar on the 25.th of April 1607: and a View of the Victory obtained by the Dutch Fleet commanded by Admiral Heyn over the Spanish Plate-Fleet in 1628; with Portraits of the Admirals Heemskerk and Heyn. 2 sheets. [The same entry appears under the heading Naval Engagement]

  • Probably from the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-22 October 1657); inherited by his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689); sold by Carlo Antonio’s grandson to Clement XI, 1703; acquired by Cardinal Alessandro Albani by 1714, from whom purchased by George III in 1762

  • Subject(s)

    Gibraltar, British Overseas Territory (36°08'00"N 05°21'00"W)

    Matanzas, Cuba (23°02ʹ38ʺN  81°34ʹ39ʺE)

    Dunkirk, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France (51°03'0"N  02°22'00"E)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, ca 1450-1700, vol. 24, Amsterdam 1980, Saverij no.2, p. 107

    A. Bruce and W. Cogar, Encyclopedia of naval history, London, 2014, pp. 172-3

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