the van de velde studio from 1674 --- to 1690?
it has been pointed out to me that the van de Veldes can hardly have occupied the whole building

Note: May 2008

Many of the puzzles, surmises and conundrums in this and linked pages have been researched
in greater depth, and in some cases resolved during the last 4 months.
However, it will be some time before they appear here, so conjectures are to be treated with caution.

The Younger
six, or four, children ?

Van de Velde

who worked in it?

Sara van de Velde
other daughters

Simon Du Bois

Of Simon Du Bois, Horace Walpole states that when his elder brother, Edward, died in 1699, "Simon, left without society, began to work for Vande velde, and one day in a fit of generosity, offered to draw the portrait of his eldest daughter. This drew on a nearer acquaintance, and the old man married her, but died in a year, leaving her his money, and a fine collection of pictures, and naming his patron, Lord Somers, executor; he was buried May 26, 1708. His young widow married again, and dissipated the fortune and collection." Sara van de Velde was not actually the Younger's eldest daughter, but his third daughter and fourth child. According to the ODNB Simon Du Bois was baptised on 26 July 1632; so he was 74 when he married Sara, then aged 35.

Earlier, under William van de Velde the Younger, who was not even surpassed as a marine painter by Mr Scott, Horace remarks that he had a daughter "who was first married to Simon Du Bois ..... and then to Mr Burgess. She had the portraits of her grandfather and father by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of her brother by Wissing, and of her great uncle Cornelius." This last sentence suggests that Horace had possibly met Mrs Sara Burgess, at an advanced age, or, at least, had seen these portraits together somewhere.

A conjectural and interim van de Velde family tree, incorporating information from Walpole and other sources, is given below.

the Pieter van de Velde in the box, top left, was a marine painter: his family relationship, if any, is unclear

Note: May 2016

The above tree can now be replaced by the one below
from Remmelt Daalder's Van de Velde & Zoon, zeeschilders, first published 2013.

Here, this page formerly continued with speculation about the identity of Sara Atkins, which is now, May 2016, dispelled by a firm record published in Daalder's 2013 study, p 245. This establishes her baptism in Amsterdam, as the third daughter of the Younger van de Velde, on 18th August 1671.

In 1992 Margarita Russell noted that the Younger's three sons, Willem, Cornelis and Pieter, as well as one of his daughters, Sara, are said to have worked in his studio. Russell may have been following a remark by Laurens J.Bol in Die Holländische Marinemalerei, 1973, who mentions three daughters and three sons: "Die letzteren, Willem, Cornelis und Peter, sollen alle Maler geworden sein; auch die tochter Sara soll gemalt haben". He, in turn, may have been following C. Hofstede de Groot, 1918, and/or P. Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, 1902. The third son, Peter, seems to have been wholly imaginary, however.

The parish register records compiled by the Church of Latter-Day Saints, formerly available on the internet, provide the following marriage data:

see note on uncertain unions: here

Reference to Hofstede de Groot's Holländische Maler, Vol VII, adds some more detail, and also mentions Sara's marriage to Simon DuBois. This is the relevant passage, pp 1,2: "Willem van de Velde ..... der Jüngere .... heiratete im März 1652 die Pieternella le Maire aus Weesp. ..... Die Ehe war unglücklich und von kurzer Dauer. Am 23. Dezember 1656 wurde bereits eine zweite, vorgenommene Heirat, und zwar mit Maria (sic) Walraven, in die Amsterdamer Kirchenbücher eingetragen. 1658, 1663, 1667 und 1671 wurden Kinder aus dieser Ehe getauft. ..... [Er] starb in Greenwich am 6. April 1707. Sein am 4. Sept. 1667 getaufter Sohn Willem hat ebenfalls gemalt. Dasselbe wird von zwei anderen Söhnen, Cornelis und Peter berichtet, und von einer Tochter berichtet. Eine andere Tochter, Sara, heiratete Simon de Bois, einen in England wohnenden Bildnismaler holländischer Herkunft."

In apparent confirmation of Walpole's statements concerning this daughter of the Younger, Michael Robinson also confidently notes that a John Burgess was son-in-law to van de Velde the Younger; quote: "From 1710 to 1712 Cornelis Van de Velde lived in Millbank, Westminster, a few doors from John Burgess, who took over the house which his father-in-law, Willem Van de Velde the Younger, occupied from 1706 until his death in 1707.

There is no clue at all as to who Sara's putative first husband, someone named Atkins, presumed dead before 1706, may have been. However, she was evidently the last survivor of the van de Velde family in England, and may finally have inherited what was left of the studios, including the family portraits, living long enough for George Vertue to visit her and see them. Pedantic accuracy, however, was neither his forte, nor Horace Walpole's.

Perhaps there were five children of the Younger's marriage, two sons and three daughters, who were brought up to be painters or assistants in the studio. A fourth daughter, and sixth child, was born and buried in Greenwich, 1685.

Remmelt Daalder clearly asserts that Cornelis van de Velde married Bernarda van der Hagen in 1699, at Knightsbridge, London; and that she was the daughter not of Johan van der Hagen, but of an otherwise unsuspected painter Cornelis van der Hagen, 1651-1690, and his wife Geertruydt du Pon. This is another revelation. Johan seems to have been her brother.

The McDonald "Monamy".

In my view it is a hundred to one on (OK, let's say 50 to 1) that the painting above is not by the hand of Monamy. The signature alleged to be there by Mr Cockett was quite certainly not there in 1970. Other than Monamy there are several candidates for its authorship: eg one of the children of the Younger van de Velde, or even Simon Du Bois. The last is unlikely, since he died in 1708. Walpole says that his elder brother, Edward Du Bois, died about 1699 aged 77. He was therefore born about 1622. The younger brother, Simon Du Bois, could have been born anything up to ten or fifteen years later. Let us say about 1633, making him 75 when he died. Could have been 85, of course.

Hofstede de Groot appends a short section on Schüler und Nachahmer des Willem van de Velde to his catalogue of the works of the Younger, p 172. This has the following note:

"Der bedeutendste unter seinen englischen Schüler war Peter Monamy (1670-1749 -- sic), der ihm besonders in den bewegten Seen äusserlich ziemlich nahe kommt, ohne jedoch seine zeichnerische und malerische Feinheit zu erreichen. Noch jünger war Charles Brooking (1723-59), der sich mehr die ruhigen Seen mit starken Beleuchteungseffekten, namentlich der untergehende Sonne, zum Vorbild nahm. Das geübte Auge erkennt ihn jedoch leicht an den späteren Formen seiner Schiffe."

Unlike the long roll of English marine art "experts", Hofstede de Groot considers Monamy's storms to emulate van de Velde most nearly. Perhaps he had never seen any of them, and was merely following Horace Walpole's comment about "turbulences". The German word Schüler hovers uneasily between "pupil" and "student". How sheeplike these Nachahmer experts are.

Detail from painting on earlier page.

The inset details, above and below, are from different sections of the McDonald "Monamy". In my view, all four paintings shown here are by the same academic hand, which is not the hand of van de Velde the Younger. Nor the hand of Peter Monamy.

48 x 59, unsigned; in 1931 arbitrarily entitled British Frigate Firing a Broadside and
attributed to van de Velde the Younger; but now attributed to Monamy

Is this the hand of Peter Monamy? I doubt it. See also second pic, below.
See also here: an english yacht head-reaching

the van de velde studio 1       the van de velde studio 2
the van de velde studio 3
van de velde 1      van de velde 2
cornelius van de velde
monamy problem pages
vertue & walpole
monamy & british art history
monamy: an explanation
monamy website index

The truth, as Roger de Piles memorably remarked, is that: "There are some curious men who form an idea of a master, by the sight of three or four of his pictures; and who, after this, believe they have a sufficient authority to decide what his manner is; without considering what care the painter took about them, and what age he was of when he drew them. ..... There is none also that had not his beginning, his progress, and his end; that is to say, three manners." This comes from the English translation of his Art of Painting, first published in 1706.


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2004, 2015, 2016
all rights reserved