Felled for the Company: the Batavia ship’s timbers

Wendy van Duivenvoorde, Aoife Daly, Marta Domínguez-Delmás

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


When Rembrandt van Rijn signed his painting of Jan Rijcksen and his wife, Griet Jans, in 1633, it had been five years since the master shipwright of the VOC’s Amsterdam shipyard had completed the construction of the Batavia. The Batavia ship and Rembrandt van Rijn, both icons of the Dutch Golden Age, have actually more in common than a connection to shipwright Rijcksen alone. The wooden panels on which Rembrandt painted and the heavy bottom planks of the Batavia ship were made from timber originating in the same forests. Recent Dendrochronological investigations of Batavia’s bottom hull planking have resulted in a perfect match with Baltic forests. Wood from this region has primarily been known for its applications in fine arts, mainly panel paintings and sculptures by contemporaneous Dutch and Flemish Masters. The outcome of this dendrochronological research is but one small part of recent investigations of the Batavia’s remains. Study of the ship’s hull continues to provide exciting information on the shipbuilding practices of the VOC in the earliest period of its existence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShipwrecks of the Roaring Forties
Subtitle of host publicationResearching Some of Australia’s Earliest Shipwrecks
EditorsJeremy Green, Alistair Paterson
Place of PublicationWestern Australia
PublisherUniversity of Western Australia Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781760800444
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Dendrochronology
  • Shipwrecks
  • Dutch East India Company
  • Shipbuilding
  • Timber procurement
  • Batavia shipwreck


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