It is generally assumed, Lieve Pietersz. Verschuier was born in Rotterdam, but we first encounter him in a document dated 13 March 1652, which reveals that he was residing in Amsterdam at the time. We do not know whether he was serving an apprenticeship with a painter there. In 1653 Verschuier was back in Rotterdam where he made his will prematurely, ‘beeltsnijder ziekelijk zijnde’ (being an ailing sculptor). According to Houbraken (1721), the artist’s biographer, he must have gone to Rome after 1653. His stay in the Eternal City was a brief one and he returned to Rotterdam in 1656. In 1674 Lieve was appointed sculptor at the national shipyard and even rose to become ‘head man’ of the St. Lucasgilde (Guild of St Luke). In 1698 Spaan described him as an excellent painter of dawn scenes, shipping and water, and also a good sculptor. The painter and sculptor, was buried in the French Church in Rotterdam on 17 December 1686.
Unfortunately, nothing has survived of the magnificent carvings that Lieve must have produced for the Rotterdam Admiralty. We know of some seventy-five of his paintings. The most outstanding of them are scenes of ships at dusk with poetic clouds and cloud formations, and dazzling sunsets that are reminiscent of the work of Claude Lorrain (Champagne 1600- Rome 1682). It is likely that Lieve Verschuier saw paintings by this renowned master when he was in Rome.
There are several ships depicted in the picture. On the left side an Admiralty ship, a man-of-war and a flute. In the centre of the painting the man-of -war ‘T ship Ooverysel. To the right ‘T Schip Deventer and a States Yacht.
The name of the yacht is derived from the Dutch word ‘jagen’ or ‘jacht maken’, which means to hunt or to pursue. This light fast sailing vessel is known from the 16th century onwards and were used by sailors from Dunkirk, Zeeland and Holland. These armed yachts were used for intercepting larger and slower ships and the precursors of the yachts which were permanently equipped for war. On account of its usefulness, the yacht was used for the delivery of messages, commands and the transportation of dignitaries.
In the 17th century this type of yacht developed into much bigger vessels and some could be even more than a hundred tons. Soon after there came a division in lighter and heavier ships.
We can subdivide the different types of yachts which were used by the VOC (East-India Company) and WIC (West India Company), the ones which were also part of the war fleet and the so called ‘Statenjacht’ or States Yacht.
The States Yacht, was the general name for yachts which were used for the transportation of dignitaries, such as princes, hence the name ‘Prinsenjacht’. During the reign of the ‘Stadhouders’ the ‘Prinsenjacht’ was a service vessel for the performance of their duties and was owned by the admirality. The same type was soon be used by the members of the Admiralties, the States, the City Councils, the VOC, WIC and so on. There were ‘Adviesjachten’, ‘Stadsjachten’ ‘Speeljachten’ and ‘Herenjachten’. During the 17th century the yacht became a pleasure craft used first by royalty and later by the burghers on the canals and the protected and unprotected waters of the Low Countries.
These vessels were usually affluently decorated with sculptures, paintings and gilding following the tradition of the great sailing ships. In the 18th century the ‘Statenjacht’ was also used as a pleasure craft.
For more information about Lieve Verschuier have a look at his biography