Retrospective exhibition of the maritime painters Van de Velde with important loans from the collections of international museums, as well as from two royal collections.

From 1 October 2021 to 27 March 2022, The National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) is presenting a retrospective of the artists Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son Willem van de Velde the Younger. They belong to the absolute crème de la crème of 17th-century maritime painters. The Willem van de Velde & Son exhibition sheds light on the Van de Velde's family business, their eye for detail and atmosphere, superb craftsmanship and the position as 'war correspondent' of the father Willem. Never before has The National Maritime Museum brought together this many art objects by these two painters. Two wall tapestries recently acquired by the museum depicting the battle of Solebay in 1672 are on display for the first time.

Michael Huijser, director of The National Maritime Museum: "This is the exhibition that The National Maritime Museum has always wanted to organise."

Collection loans

In addition to its own collection, the exhibition also includes numerous loans from, among others, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Mauritshuis, and the Rijksmuseum. Loans from both British and Dutch royal collections will also be on display. British Queen Elizabeth II is loaning the paintings Holmes’s Bonfire, the burning of Dutch merchant ships between Terschelling and Vlieland (Willem van de Velde de Oude, 1676), The Royal Escape in a breeze (Van de Velde the Younger, ca. 1675) and The ‘Golden Leeuw’ at Sea in Heavy Weather (Willem van de Velde de Jonge, 1671) for the exhibition. From the Dutch Royal Collections, the pen drawing Vloot op de rede can be seen (Willem van de Velde the Elder, ca. 1650). The painting usually has a permanent place in King Willem-Alexander's workroom in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and can also be viewed there by the general public.

Jeroen van der Vliet, curator of the exhibition: "The fact that so many different museums and no fewer than two royal collections are making such a generous contribution to the exhibition underscores the international standing of both artists."

About the exhibition

The Willem van de Velde & Son retrospective exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through the Van de Veldes' maritime world and winds its way past rough sketches, calm seascapes, dramatic storms and impressive naval battles. Willem van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693) excelled in detailed pen drawings and Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1711) in atmospheric oil paintings.
This is the first time that so many works by both artists will be on display together. Father and son Van de Velde had a flourishing and internationally operating family studio that lasted for seventy years and belonged to the pinnacle of 17th-century maritime painting. Initially, they were successful in the Dutch Republic, but from 1672 onwards, they worked at the English royal court. Two wall tapestries recently acquired by the museum depicting the battle of Solebay in 1672 stem from a royal commission to Willem van de Velde the Elder. These Solebay wall tapestries are one of the highlights of the exhibition. 

Solebay wandtapijten

Solebay wandtapijten

Willem van de Velde & Son Exhibition
From 1 October 2021 to 27 March 2022
The National Maritime Museum

Publication and programme

The publication Willem van de Velde & Son will be issued by Thoth publishers (in Dutch and English) to coincide with the exhibition. The exhibition will also include a programme of lectures, guided tours and a study tour. There is an audio tour for the exhibition, in which various guests reflect on the work of the Van de Veldes together with artist and presenter Lucas De Man. 


This exhibition has been made possible thanks to contributions from Het Compagnie Fonds, VriendenLoterij, the Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, the Turing Foundation, the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, the Zabawas Foundation, the Nico Nap Foundation, the Samenwerkende Maritieme Fondsen and the Gravin van Bylandt Foundation.

The acquisition of the Solebay wall tapestries was made possible thanks to contributions from the Dutch Rembrandt Association (partly thanks to its UK Circle Fund), the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the VriendenLoterij, the Mondriaan Fund, the Samenwerkende Maritieme Fondsen, the Vereeniging Nederlandsch Historisch Scheepvaartmuseum (The Association of Dutch Historical Maritime museums) and Het Compagnie Fonds.