English Ships and the Spanish Armada

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English ships and the Spanish Armada, August 1588.

  • 100% Silk
  • Hand Rolled
  • Designed and Printed in Britain
  • 42cm x 42cm

This stunningly dramatic painting may have been a design for a tapestry and is dateable to the years immediately following the event. The composition appears less like a painting than as a formal design but no other contemporary image of the Armada conveys a comparable sense of the drama and colour of the confrontation between the two fleets.

The Spanish galleass may be meant to represent the principal Spanish flagship, Medina Sidonia's 'San Martin', 48 guns, although by showing her as a galleass, when she was, in fact, a galleon, the artist has used poetic licence to emphasize her Spanish origin. To her right is a stern view of what is clearly intended as the 'Ark Royal', 55 guns, the flagship of the English Lord Admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham, flying the Elizabethan Royal Standard. On the left, bow on, is another English ship, perhaps Drake's vice-admiral's flagship, 'Revenge', 43 guns, although this is speculative.