Fragments of Jan van Speijk’s gunboat, anonymous, c. 1800 - c. 1830
Remains of Van Speijk and those of his ship were immediately sought after following his heroic deed. As soon as his body was in the hands of the Dutch army, soldiers cut off small pieces of his uniform jacket as mementoes. Bits of wood and metal from the gunboat found on the Scheldt changed hands in Antwerp for large sums of money. Some fragments were later distributed by lottery in the Netherlands. The wood displayed here was sawn into the thinnest possible slivers for this purpose.