Pen and ink with watercolour and gouache on laid paper depicting an Arctic scene of five large Dutch sailing ships and five smaller rowing boats circling and harpooning whales, four of which are surfacing to blow, with two polar bears in the foreground. Signed "H.C. Ta�ssen[?]" in black ink to the lower right corner and dated 180[?]1. 300 x 410 mm. The sheet with a large medallion watermark. Ruled borders with watercolour washes. Excepting a few creases, the image remains in very good condition, with the colours fresh and bold.
A fine and attractive image of early European exploratory activity in the Arctic. Commercial Whaling in the Arctic began around the 1730s, as Dutch and English explorers began to fund their expeditions with whale catches. The crews of whaling vessels formed perhaps the most significant European presence in the Arctic region, charting its geography and climate, documenting its landscape and natural history, and trading with the indigenous Inuit populations.
Stock code: 20085