William van der Hagen
King William III off the coast of Ireland, June 1690, with an English Royal Yacht and the Lord High Admiral's first-rate flying the Royal Standard
Oil on canvas
85.8 x 142.9 cm
33 3/4 x 56 1/4 in
33 3/4 x 56 1/4 in
Copyright The Artist
William III set sail for Ireland with the English Fleet in the second week of June 1690, arriving off Carrickfergus on June 14th. Here he landed before proceeding to Belfast...
William III set sail for Ireland with the English Fleet in the second week of June 1690, arriving off Carrickfergus on June 14th. Here he landed before proceeding to Belfast where he took command of his army and proceeded towards Drogheda. On the 30th June he faced the combined French and Irish armies of King James II across the River Boyne, where the battle and subsequent rout of the Catholic party took place the following day. William himself was slightly wounded in the battle, which was the seminal event in 17th/18th century Irish history, and which established the Protestant ascendancy for many years to come. It also effectively marked the end of King James's hopes of re-establishing himself on the English throne. After proceeding to Dublin where he entered the City in triumph, he advanced against Limerick, but failed to convert his siege there into capitulation. He returned from County Cork in July after less than two months' campaigning with his throne effectively safe from further opposition. Early views of Ireland in the seventeenth century are exceedingly rare, and are little more common in the first half of the 18th century. The present painting, which dates from perhaps 1730, should be judged as a "fancy" picture to the extent that it does not enjoy the benefit of an eye-witness account by the artist. What the painting does is symbolically to celebrate the victory of the House of Orange over the House of Stuart in Ireland. In 1728, William Vanderhagen was employed to paint a series of six Irish views for Robert Baillie which were to be reproduced in tapestry. All of the subjects were to be taken from King William's campaign in 1690, but in the event only two were completed "The Defence of Derry" and "The Battle of the Boyne". However, he did paint a series of such pictures for other patrons, including "King William Landing at Carrickfergus" (formerly at Curraghmore), and numerous other topographical and fancy landscapes are recorded in old Irish collections. In the present painting, the richly gilded Royal Yacht in the foreground is flying the pennant which from 1660 indicated that the ship was under independent rather than fleet command: it would have been used for the personal service of the monarch. The large first-rate on the right hand side of the composition id flying the Royal Standard of William III which was in use from 1689-1702 on the mainmast, whilst the fore flies the Admiralty and Lord High Admiral's flag, with its motif of a gold anchor and rope. At the stern is the senior ensign of the Royal Navy (in use 1625 to 1707) and the stern mast flies the "jack" of the Royal Navy which was in use from 1625-1707. All this indicates is the presence on board of the King himself and the commander of his navy, the Lord High Admiral. In the left foreground the small boat flies the red, white and blue striped Dutch "Double Prince" flag of the Amsterdam Admiralty, which is painted in close contiguity with the naval "jack" flying from the round tower on shore, emphasising thereby the Anglo-Dutch alliance."