Provenance: The Netherlands, private collection
There is a lot of shipping activity on the turbulent waters of the North Sea and the Western Scheldt off the important port of Vlissingen. A warship lowers its sails before arriving in port. The warship carries a pennant on the mainmast, indicating that a squadron commander is on board the ship. In the middle, some distance away, a barquentine leaves the harbour. In the center of the image is a Dutch States yacht with stern and starboard quarter views, towing a sloop on which the painter’s signature can be seen.
The painting was possibly commissioned by an official body with maritime interests in Vlissingen.
The harbor of Vlissingen can be seen in the distance with the Kleine or Middelkerk and the prison tower on the far left. In the middle is the Keizersbolwerk, a fortification built in 1548, which was expanded in the Franco-Batavian period and then took its current form. The stronghold also included the Waterpoort, a fortified gate leading directly from the city wall to the quay. This allowed people and supplies to reach the fortress directly from the water and those within the fortress had direct access to water transport. At that time, the stronghold consisted of a round bastion with a gate that gave access to the city. From this water gate, Emperor Charles V left Dutch territory on September 15, 1556 to settle in Spain for good. A few years later (1559) his son and successor Philips II also left the Vlissingen Waterpoort for Spain