The battle of Femern took place on the 13 October 1644 between the Swedish and the Danish fleets. The battle is considered as one of the greatest victories in Swedish naval history. The Swedish ships were commanded by Carl Gustaf Wrangel. This is the second of two large pencil and ink wash drawings of the battle by van der Velde at Skokloster Castle. The first one depicts its initial stage, while this one focuses on the latter. To the left of the center is Wrangels flagship Smålands Lejon, and further to the left is the Danish vice admirals ship Lindormen set on fire.

The painting was most likely commissioned by Wrangel during the late 1640s or early 50s as a model for a weaving tapestry. It was also used as a model for the intarsia on a backgammon set executed in the German town of Eger in the 1650s, which belongs to the Skokloster castle collections.


  • Title: The battle of Fehmarn
  • Creator: Willem van der Velde the Elder
  • Creator Lifespan: 1611 - 1693
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: London
  • Creator Birth Place: Leyden
  • Date Created: c. 1650
  • artist: Willem van der Velde the Elder
  • Tags: Marine painting, Dutch school
  • Physical Dimensions: w 1560, h 640 mm (without frame)
  • Artist info: As the son of a Flemish captain, Willem van der Velde had a close connection to the marine environment since birth. There are no records of under whom or during what period of time he conducted his studies, but judging by his first signed and dated drawing from 1638, he must have been practising his art for several years. During the 1640s and 50s he travelled with the Dutch fleet as an independent observer, executing many works of Dutch ships at various locations. In early 1673 van der Velde moved to London together with his eldest son (known as Willem van der Velde the Younger) as a result of the chaotic times caused by the French invasion of the Netherlands in 1672. There he entered the service of Charles II as court painter of naval battles. Willem van der Velde was technically inventive and introduces many innovations which affected both the style and expressive content of his pictures. He is especially known for his pen drawings, known as grisailles, but also worked in a more traditional manner with oil and panel.
  • Type: Pencil and ink wash
  • External Link: Skokloster Castle

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