This unique and magnificent etching by Ludolf Backhuysen has never been published before. Prominent in the left foreground is a States’ Yacht with an ornate transom. The arms on the flag are those of Prince Maurits of Orange. In the center are a number of capital ships, one seen bows on, the other with a lavishly decorated transom. A smaller ship recognisable as a flute is under sail on the far right. The ship in the center served as a model for later paintings, drawings and prints by Backhuysen. It recurs in a pen painting of 1660 in the collection of the ‘Koninklijk College Zeemanshoop’ in Amsterdam, and is clearly recognisable in a series of prints of 1701 that Backhuysen made at the ripe old age of 71.
This exceptionally fine print by Backhuysen dates from around 1660, making it by far his earliest known etching, and it may even be a proof impression. It is extremely valuable, both art-historically and as an example of maritime graphic art. Research has shown, that it was the point of departure for Ludolf Backhuysen’s subsequent oeuvre.