‘View of Plymouth’ by Hendrick Danckerts

‘View of Plymouth’ by Hendrick Danckerts

6 January 2023

This painting showing a ‘View of Plymouth’ is attributed to a celebrated Dutch painter who came to England to paint for King Charles II called Hendrick Danckerts (1625-1679).

It’s an oil on canvas measuring half a metre high by well over a metre wide, and dates from 1675. It was purchased for Plymouth’s permanent art collection in 1954.

In ‘View of Plymouth’ you can see a yet to be quarried Mount Batten and three well-dressed male figures on the left.

To the right is the tightly packed town of Plymouth with the two towers of the Jacobean Guildhall and the tower of St Andrew’s Church in the background. A female figure and two other male figures, one of whom is seated, can be seen in the foreground.

In the centre is the entrance to Sutton Harbour. The recently built Citadel can be seen rising above the Barbican and overlooking Plymouth Sound.

‘View of Plymouth’ by Hendrick Danckerts (1625-1679) © The Box, Plymouth

Danckerts was born in The Hague and lived there until 1653, before moving to Italy. He visited England for the first time in 1650 and relocated to London in 1658. Upon arriving in England, he entered the service of King Charles II and the Duke of York.

He was known for painting Italian-inspired landscapes, particularly views of harbours, royal residences and houses in their landscape settings – skills which must have no doubt been useful for ‘View of Plymouth’. He also produced portraits and devotional pictures and made engravings after the Italian old masters in the Royal Collection.

After nearly twenty years, he left England in 1679, mainly due to the public hostility that existed at the time towards Roman Catholics. He only lived for a short while after and passed away in Amsterdam in late 1680.

Today, there are around 20 paintings by Danckerts in public collections in the UK including the National Trust, the Government Art Collection and ‘A View of Falmouth Harbour’ at the National Maritime Museum. Another work by him showing a view of Plymouth is in the collection at the Yale Center for British Art, USA. Danckerts also had a brother named Johan (c1616-1686) who was a well-known painter. He also spent time in Italy, lived in England for a number of years and passed away in Holland.

Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer