The Tapestries of the House of Lords, c. 1592
In 1591, Lord High Admiral Charles Howard commissions a series of tapestries to commemorate the English victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Dutch painter Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom, who had previously made a name for himself as a talented marine painter, is commissioned to produce the designs. The large-format tapestries later hang in the British Parliament, where they fall victim to the fire of the medieval building in 1834. Due to the loss of the tapestries, the etchings made a century earlier after the original textiles are important testimonies to their original appearance.
Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom is one of the most influential artists of marine painting, as his name is directly associated with the establishment of the type of painting as an independent genre. He is undoubtedly the first painter to concentrate entirely on the depiction of the sea and ships. He attaches great importance to the correct depiction of ships and profits from the emerging prosperity of Dutch seafaring. For Vroom‘s career, the tapestries are the decisive commission that bring him international reputation. The etchings are of great value in art historical terms, as they provide an insight into Vroom‘s early work. The painter sees himself as a documentarian who brings historical events into focus. In this work, the horizon line is particularly high because he needs space on the water to depict the events.