This is almost certainly the work of one of the Van der Heck family from Alkmaar, who from about 1636 specialised in views of the Abbey of Egmond, the Castle of Egmond and the village of Egmond aan See. The village is on the north coast of Holland, near Alkmaar. Although the church has long since been destroyed, its distinctive tower is recognisable in paintings by Ruisdael and through contemporary engravings (Stechow, nos 208, 209 and 211). This is an exquisitely detailed little panel, whose linear format and bird's eye perspective creates a long horizon and emphasises the sprawl of the village. Only the church tower and light tower extend above the sea's horizon. The rest of the village is snugly contained within the lie of the land, securely sheltered from the elements by the dunes, whose rolling contours are emphasised by long passages of sunlight. The sea is busy with sailing vessels, a reminder of Holland's successful trade, while the town is evidently a thriving hub of activity. Two men converse beside a net trap in the left foreground, one of them carrying a brace of hares over his shoulder, while another man hunts with dogs in the background; a villager keeps watch over a flock of grazing sheep; others are out and about, trading or simply for pleasure, on foot and on horseback. The vegetable gardens and haystacks, a woman drawing water from a well and boats moored in a small cove all contribute to an impression of prosperity.
unframed: 27.5cm x 70.6cm
Place of creation
Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.
© Manchester Art Gallery