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An important influence on Turner’s marine pictures was the tradition of Dutch sea paintings. In the early 1830s Turner made a series of paintings inspired by seventeenth-century painters such as Willem Van de Velde, and took subjects from naval history.

This is one of four paintings that refer in the title to ‘Van Tromp’, a name that conflates two Admirals called Tromp. Turner’s tribute to Dutch art is coupled with what has been seen as a topical reference to recent Belgian secession from The Netherlands, and his criticism of the British government’s pro-Belgian stance.

February 2010