Such are the series of twelve naval engagements and sea-ports in the palace at Hampton Court, though signed like the best works of the younger van de Velde; they are dated 1676 and 1682. This eminent artist was the son of the preceding, and born at Amsterdam in 1633.
From a fact which I have already mentioned, that so many Flemish and Dutch pictures, which we may often come across, are in England, I am sorry that my space will not suffer me to give a few special words to other famous painters of these schools or school, for they merge into one, to Snyders, Jan Steen, Gerard Dow, Ruysdael, Hobbema, Van de Velde, etc., etc.
Rubens, Luyders, Paul de Vos, and other Belgian painters, had drawn animals with admirable mastery, but all these are surpassed by the Dutch artists, Van der Velde, Berghum, Karel der Jardin, and by the prince of animal painters, Paul Potter, whose famous "Bull," in the gallery of The Hague, deserves to be placed in the Vatican beside the "Transfiguration" by Rafael.
The States of Holland placed a frigate at the disposal of Van de Velde the elder; his son accompanied him. Both made their sketches in the midst of the battle-smoke, sometimes advancing so far among the fighting ships that the admirals were obliged to order them to withdraw. The younger Van de Velde surpassed his father.
Her early work consisted largely in copies from Van de Velde and Van Dyck. Her miniatures were so highly esteemed that Peter the Great offered her a salary of six thousand florins as his court painter; and Frederick William of Prussia invited her to his court, but nothing could tempt her away from her home in Amsterdam.
Many of his works are in England. William Van de Velde the younger, the elder brother of Adrian Van de Velde, the cattle painter, was born at Amsterdam in 1633, and died at Greenwich in 1707. His early life was spent in Holland.
He painted small pictures for the most part a gray sky, a calm sea, and some sails but so naturally are they done that when one looks at them one seems to smell the salt air of the sea, and mistakes the frame for a window. This Van de Velde belongs to that group of Dutch painters who loved the water with a sort of madness, and who painted, one may say, on the water.
Of the works of Reubens there are, 30; of Vandyck, 18; of Rembrandt, 15; of Paul Potter, 3; of David Teniers, jun., 24; of Philip Wouvermans, 52; of Adrian Ostade, 6; of Gerard Douw, 16; of Francis Mieris, 14; of Gabriel Metzu, 6; of Berghem, 9; of Adrian van de Velde, 5; of Ruysdael, 13; and others by the Dutch masters.
Albert Cuyp was there, who, developing the latent gold in Rembrandt, had brought into his native Dordrecht a heavy wealth of sunshine, as exotic as those flowers or the eastern carpets on the Burgomaster's tables, with Hooch, the indoor Cuyp, and Willem van de Velde, who painted those shore-pieces with gay ships of war, such as he loved, for his patron's cabinet.
He afterwards followed his father to England, where he was greatly patronized by Charles II. and James II. for whom, in turn, he painted the naval victories of the English over the Dutch. He was also much employed by amateurs of art among the English nobility and gentry. There is no question that Willem van de Velde the younger is the greatest marine painter of the whole Dutch School.