As a young man Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, a native of Haarlem, was travelling from Haarlem to Seville when he was shipwrecked near Lisbon. Local inhabitants planned to kill survivors of the wreck, thinking them to be pirates. However, Vroom showed them small religious paintings, which he had intended to sell in Seville and the Portuguese decided the party were Christian and spared them. Vroom later lived at Setúbal, where he painted sea pieces. He had earlier spent two years in Rome and also knew Spain and France. He travelled to England, where he was commissioned by the Lord Admiral (the Earl of Nottingham) to make cartoons for tapestries of the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588. These were destroyed in the Houses of Parliament fire of 1834.
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