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Newsletter, January 2014 (Issue 194)

What's in a picture?


Several years ago I went to an exhibition at the Wolsey Art Gallery of pictures from the Ipswich Borough collection which had a nautical theme. One old painting caught my eye. It was entitled Late seventeenth century Dutch harbour scene and was painted by Lorenzo Castro. It had some very interesting features. I thought about the painting for a couple of days and then went back to have another look. Unfortunately, the exhibition had finished. I had spotted a sumptuously-dressed figure on the deck of one of the ships and I needed another look to identify the ships.

I asked if it was possible to see the painting again, but was told 'no'.

The years passed and I asked several times to see the painting, but the answer was always 'no'. Then the catalogue of Suffolk museum paintings was produced. The picture was now entitled Warships at sea but the thumbnail image was too small to see any detail.

Then recently I discovered the BBC website Your Paintings. It has images of all the major paintings in the museums of Britain. Not as good as looking at the painting itself, but not bad. I did some research and I am now 99% certain that the painting is a depiction of Charles II leaving Holland on the Naseby (HMS Royal Charles), flagship of the Commonwealth fleet, to return to England in the year 1660.

I think that this makes it a far more interesting picture. Louis Musgrove

[Picture can be seen here]

    Front cover of issue 194 Cover, issue 194

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