19th Century Wedgwood Commemorative Creamware Plate J C J Van Speyk Speijk 1831 Dutch Naval Hero
This Creamware plate was produced by Wedgwood in England circa 1831 and features a black transferware design commemorating the Dutch naval hero Jan Carolus Josephus Van Speijk (Sometimes spelt Speyk) who was born 31 January 1802 and died 5 February 1831. The text on the plate read “J. C. J van SPEYK Geboren 31 January 1802. Den Heldengood gestorven 5 Ferbuary 1831.” The base of the plate is marked with the Wedgwood impressed mark though it is very distorted on our example.
Jan Carolus Josephus Van Speijk was famous for his actions when the Belgian War Of Independence began. Van Speijk was in the Royal Netherlands Navy and was given command of a Dutch gunboat. On the 5th of February 1831 a gale blew his ship towards the Belgian coast. The Belgians stormed his ship at gunpoint and demanded he lower the Dutch flag. Rather than surrender he fired his pistol (or threw a lit cigar) into a barrel of gunpowder killing almost everyone on board, including Van Speyk. According to legend he shouted “Dan liever de Lucht in” which loosely translates to “rather be blown up”.
Van Speijk is seen as a national hero; in fact the mast from his wrecked ship is on display in the Royal Netherlands Naval College. To honour his name, in 1833 King Willem I declared that there will always be a ship named after Van Speijk in the Dutch Navy. The tradition has been kept alive ever since. The current ship bearing his name is the Karel Doorman class frigate named HNLMS Van Speijk (F828) which was launched in 1994.
Measuring: Diameter 7 7/8” (20 cm).
Condition: The transfer printed design is crisp and bright. This item does have some damage. There is a 5” crack running across the plate, seen clearly in our images.
This is a quality item and has a fascinating and rarely seen subject matter, its perfect for any Wedgwood collector or anyone with an interest in Naval history.
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