Dutch shipping in choppy seas off the coast of Amsterdam signed 'JBellevois' (on flag, lower centre) oil on panel 93 x 155.5cm (36 5/8 x 61 1/4in).
PROVENANCE: Belgian private collection Purchased from them through Phillips Harris, London, 1972, by the present owner
In a letter to the current owner dated 19 February, 1981, E.H.H. Archibald stated that 'From the transparency your Bellevois must be the best one I have seen.' He contrasts it with the more familiar depictions of ships wrecked on rocky coasts that one finds in the artist's oeuvre. He further remarked that from the style of the main ship it is a fairly early work by the artist, before 1650. The little ship to the right of the centre flies an Amsterdam jack. Regarding the Spanish flags on the vessel to the far right of the composition, they would normally consist of multiple stripes, but Archibald has suggested that a Spanish tricolour must have evolved, perhaps locally, as the century wore on, and that it is the artist's licence. The ensign on the flute in the background bears the lion of Holland.
The Rotterdam marine painter, Jacob Adriaensz. Bellevois, is believed to have been a pupil of Jan Porcellis, since much of his work follows in the style of Porcellis's calm, monochrome seascapes. It has further been suggested that he might have worked with Simon de Vlieger. Although not much is known about his life, his importance in the history of marine painting is reflected in his works' inclusion in the Mauritshuis, the Museum Bredius and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.