- Museum number
The Dutch fleet in the Medway, June 1667; extensive view from the hills SE of Chatham showing the Medway from the sea to above Chatham, and the mouth of the Thames in the distance, the Dutch ships in action at various points, and a horseman galloping at left foreground
Pen and brown ink, with grey wash and watercolour, touched with red chalk, over graphite, on several sheets conjoined
- Production date
- 1667 (circa)
Height: 274 millimetres
Width: 859 millimetres (max)
- Curator's comments
- See notes in Hind.
Stainton & White 1987
In June 1667 the Dutch fleet, under Admiral de Ruyter, made a daring and successful raid on the Medway, setting fire to a number of English ships and capturing the Royal Charles, the fleet flagship, which was to be displayed as a trophy at Rotterdam for several years. This drawing and two others in the Van der Hem Atlas in Vienna (see Hulton, op. cit.) are probably careful reconstructions from first-hand accounts of the action, although it is possible that Schellinks was an eye-witness of the attack. An inscription in the artist's hand on another drawing showing the Dutch raid (in the Ashmolean Museum; see Brown (1982) 206) notes "Naar't leven afgetekent door W:S" ("Drawn from the life of W:S"). While in England between July 1661 and August 1663, Schellinks had made drawings of Rochester, Chatham and Dover- all strategically important - and he was later able to incorporate comparatively accurate topographical details in the drawings he made after the 1667 attack. It has been suggested that Schellinks was working for the Dutch intelligence services as well as for his patron Van der Hem when he visited England, partly because of his evident predilection for drawing fortifications, harbour installations and the disposition of naval vessels. But it is unlikely that those who planned the raid on the Medway could have derived much detailed information from the drawings.
The details of the raid, as drawn and described here by Schellinks, follow contemporary Dutch accounts very closely. In this drawing, the viewpoint he assumes is south-east of Rochester and is a half map- half bird's-eye-view, with numerous inscriptions and an incomplete key by the artist: his intention was to give a conspectus of events. No related paintings or engravings are known, although at least one painting by Schellinks (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and two engravings, one by Romeyn de Hooghe, are connected with one of the drawings in the Van der Hem Atlas.
The humiliation and panic caused in England by the Dutch attack is vividly described in the diary of Samuel Pepys, who as a prominent naval official was closely involved and subsequently much concerned with efforts at Naval reform. Another diarist, John Evelyn, visited Chatham at the end of June 1667, "thence to view not onely what Mischiefe the Dutch had don, but how triumphantly their whole Fleete lay within the very mouth of the Thames, all from Northforeland, Margate, even to the Buoy of the Nore, a Dreadfull Spectacle as ever any English men saw, & a dishonour never to be wiped off".
Stijn Alsteens and Hans Buijs, 'Paysages de France dessinés par Lambert Doomer et les artistes hollandais et flamands des XVIe et XVIIe siècles', [exh. cat. for Paris-Amsterdam 2006-7] Paris, 2008, p.45, note that if the artist personally witnessed the battle, his visit to England may have been short, as he married in Amsterdam on 6th November 1667.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 June-Aug, BM Hilliard to Hogarth, No 120
1987 Sept-Nov, New Haven, Hilliard to Hogarth
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Dutch Fleet in the Medway 1667
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number