At the beginning of the new season in 1667, Michiel de Ruyter was feeling quite miserable. He was suffering from frequent attacks of fever and was most upset by the malicious glee shown by his fellow countrymen in response to the Great Fire of London, from 2-5 September 1666. Less than a year earlier, the city had been infested by the Great Plague (1665-1666) which had claimed the lives of between 5,000 and 100,000 citizens. As far as De Ruyter was concerned, these two major incidents were a disaster. The English could not afford to fit out a new war fleet because all available funds had to be targeted towards coping with the aftermath of the Great Plague.

Material: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 150 x 220 cm