A Dutch 6-pdr bronze naval cannon, dated 1694, Claude Fremy, Amsterdam, 1694 Recovered from the wreck of the Dutch East-Indiaman Hollandia The barrel with five moulded turns, the breech with monogram VOC cast in relief and surmounted by an A for the Amsterdam chapter of the Dutch East India Company above a struck proof mark in the form of the Amsterdam Town mark and an inscribed band CLAUDY FREMY ME FECIT AMSTELODAMIA o 1694, engraved number 1640, with a pair of scrolled dolphin handles and swamped muzzle, 8ft 1in long, 3.67in bore, on a later stepped wooden carriage built by the late James Close. Provenance: Sotheby & Co., 18th April 1972, sale of Artifacts etc. recovered from the wreck of the Dutch East-Indiaman ôHOLLANDIAö (sunk 1743), lot 503, purchased by James Close for ú2000. The James Close Collection of Historic Naval Cannon. Historical Notes: The cast inscription indicates that the current lot was cast by Claude Fremy (1646-1699) who was appointed as the Master Gunfounder of Karthhuizerstraat in Amsterdam in 1681. He is known to have cast several guns for the Amsterdam chapter of the VOC and probably others for the Amsterdam Admiralty. A bell, also cast by him and dated 1697, hangs in the bell tower at the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South AfricaÆs oldest surviving building. The Hollandia was constructed by the Dutch East-India Company in Amsterdam in 1742. Built to a new experimental design, she was 150 (Amsterdam) feet in length, displaced 700 tons and carried 32 guns. On 3rd July 1743, she sailed from the Friesland Island of Texel bound for Batavia (in modern day Jakarta) with a complement of 276 men, commanded by Captain Jan Gelder, and laden with a cargo of 129,700 guilders in silver coin. In addition to the crew, the Hollandia sailed with several important passengers, including a brother of Gustaaf Willem Baron van Imhoff, the Dutch Governor-General of the East Indies, with the formerÆs wife and sister-in-law who belonged to the aristocratic Bentinck family of Bevervoerde. Ten days into the voyage the Hollandia had strayed off-course and become separated from the two other vessels accompanying her to Batavia. In the early hours of 13th July 1743 she struck the Gunner rock, off Annet, Isles of Scilly. Making for St. MaryÆs and taking on water fast, she managed to fire her guns as a signal of distress but to no avail. She went down around 15 minutes after striking the rock in approximately 100 feet of water with the loss of all hands. Contemporary accounts suggest that all attempts to locate and salvage the HollandiaÆs cargo were abortive; John Troutbeck in his 1794 publication Survey of the Ancient and Present State of the Scilly Islands noted:- (The wreck) still remains a booty for those who can find it. In 1968 Rex Cowan, a former lawyer, charged himself with the challenge of locating the wreck. After two years of searching by his team of experienced divers, assisted by knowledge gained through exhaustive research in the English and Dutch archives and a specially-developed electronic instrument called a proton magnetometer, the wreck was finally located on 16th September 1971. The shipwreck site was spread over an area of approximately 180 by 100 metres and comprised three main clusters. The southern cluster consisted of the remains of the lower part of the hull and included two bronze short mortar-type cannon which probably spilled out of the damaged hull whilst the Hollandia was adrift and taking on water. The two northern clusters were probably the remains of the main body of the ship, with the stern facing south. The heavier artifacts, which included 5 anchors and 28 iron guns, settled in gullies on the seabed whilst many of the smaller items were randomly dispersed across the area making archeological interpretation of the site extremely difficult. At the time of the loss of the Hollandia the current lot would have been almost 50 years old. This, coupled with the fact that 28 iron guns were located amongst the wreckage, suggests that it probably was not amongst the principal armament of the ship but may (along with the two mortar cannon) have been part of the vesselÆs cargo or perhaps installed as supplementary armament. The current lot must have been one of the earliest artifacts recovered from the wreck (during the short window of suitable weather after its discovery in September 1971) as it was immediately offered for sale at SothebyÆs on 18th April 1972 where it was purchased by James Close. A bronze 16-pdr Land Service mortar by Ciprianus Crans, Amsterdam, and a bronze 2-pdr breech-loading cannon both of which which were also recovered from the wreck of the Hollandia, were sold at Bonhams Fine Arms & Armour from the Henk L. Visser Collection, London, 28th November 2007 for ú26,400 and ú9,840 respectively.
Barrel has a series of scrapes running along the length of the last stage before the muzzle (where it has slid past something at some point). There is also very noticeable fairly deep pitting which appears to be pourosity in the casting - most noticeable to upper edge. There are also two casting marks at around 10 and 2 o'clock near the end of the breach. Shortly after salvage, the cannon was professionally (chemically) cleaned, leaving it a raw bronze colour and then given a coat of epoxy varnish which is now breaking down resulting in an uneven blotchy green appearance to the upper surfaces of the barrel. The bore appears to be in good order with only slight surface erosion, the touch hole is currently blocked with dirt. The carriage is basically intact and in sound condition however, has an overall heavily weathered appearance. Dimensions not mentioned in the description: Diameter at muzzle = 8inches Diameter at breech = 13.75inches Width to tip of trunnions = 16inches
Sold for £18,000
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