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Antique print showing the defeat of Spanish galleys by an Anglo-Dutch naval force off the coast of Flanders, 3-4 Oct. 1602, by Johannes Rem, published by Willem Blaeu.

Item number:26804
Category:Antique maps > europe > low countries - belgium
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Dawn of the Blaeu Dynasty - Johannes Rem's 1602 'Defeat of Spanish Galleys'.
The most important Marine Print of the early Dutch Baroque.


Typus octo longaru[m] naviu[m]. Anno M.VI.c.II ab Hispaniae rege missaru[m] ad Oceanum Belgicum infestandu[m]. quarum naviu[m] quatuor Angloru[m] atq³ Hollandoru[m] virtute conquassatae sunt et submersae: ceterae naufragio periere. - Johannes Rem - Willem Blaeu, c. 1602.


Antique print showing the defeat of Spanish galleys by an Anglo-Dutch naval force off the coast of Flanders, 3-4 Oct. 1602, by Johannes Rem, published by Willem Blaeu.

The first print published by the Blaeu family: A monumental visual account containing a unique and previously unrecorded 44 strophe war poem.

Engraved by Johannes Rem (Antwerp, c.1567 - Amsterdam, c. 1620), and published by Willem Blaeu.

Date: c. 1602

Copper engraving in 3 sheets, printed on paper, joined, framed.
Size (not including margins): 54 x 122cm (21.1 x 47.6 inches)
Verso: Blank
Condition: Excellent.
Condition Rating: A+
References: Schilder 4, p.27-28 & 123ff; Muller F., Suppl. 1190 A

Separate Publication.

2nd state, with Latin text in ten columns (first state has a Dutch text in six columns).
2 copies recorded of the first state (Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam & Atlas van Stolk Rotterdam)
4 copies recorded of the second state (Rijksprentenkabinet Amsterdam; British Library London; Bibl. Nat. Paris; Albertina, Wien)

The engraved title runs along the upper edge of the sheets. A cartouche in the lower right corner refers to the privilege granted to the author and engraver Johannes Rem: Johannes Remius | Inventor Andoverpianus | Cum gratia et Privilegio. In the left corner is a decorative cartouche with a dedication to the States General and Prince Maurits.

In the foreground of the print is a depiction of the coast, on which the following places are mentioned: 'Cales' [Calais], Greuelinge' [Gravelines], 'Nieupoort' [Nieuwpoort], 'Oostende' [Ostend], 'Blankeberge', 'Heist' and 'Sluys' [Sluis].
This is a second state: the paper strip with a text in Latin in ten columns, written by Richardus Lubbaeus, bears the imprint of Willem Jansz (= Willem Blaeu).

Separate underneath: An anonymous and previously unrecorded 44 strophe verse in Dutch.

Title of the verse: Eigentlijcke Figuerlijcke | Afbeldinghe | Oock | Cort ende warachtich verhael vande ondergangh ende vernielinghe van acht spaensche Galeyen, geschiet inden Iaer 1602, daer Generael op was Fredericus Spinola, waer van twee omtrent St uves Hoeck by Sesember door een Engels Coningins Schip t'ondergebrocht, ende d'andere door de oorlooghsschepen vande E.M.H. Staten sommighe overgeseylt ende de reste aende Strant gelaecht ende alsoo verdestrubeert zijn.

In the autumn of 1602 King Philip II of Spain equipped eight large galleys in Seville; these were to set out to the Netherlands under archduke Albert. The main object of sending this fleet was, together with the galleys and warships that were already present, to 'trouble and constrain the navigation of the coasts of England, Holland and Zeeland, and to close in on Ostend'. Two galleys were lost along the Spanish coast, while the remaining ones were destroyed by a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet of seven warships in a sea battle on 3 and 4 October 1602. Two galleys were sunk and four were cast ashore on the coasts of Flanders and Zeeland.
The extensive text which has been added to the print along the lower edge provides the reader with detailed information about the various phases of the battle.

As early as 8 November the very same year, the States-General granted an exclusive five-year patent to the printmaker and publisher, Hans Rem, allowing him to make, print and sell pictures of 'the arrival of the enemy's galleys and how they were rammed and stranded'. Rem dedicated the monumental print to the States-General and Stadholder prince Maurice. His three sheets depict different stages of the battle, as was customary in broad sheets of this kind.

Although Rem's legacy is limited - only three prints and a few landscape paintings have been attributed to him - his role in the Amsterdam art scene of the early 1600's seems to have been crucial. Originating from an Antwerp family of goldsmiths and painters, he's recorded as Amsterdam poorter in 1594 and was active as a painter, engraver and art dealer.

Willem Blaeu's first involvement in cartography dates back as far as 1599. The present print canonizes an important episode of Dutch naval history and served as an inspiration for many painters and printmakers of the time.

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