“Kof bij de wind zeilende” [Koff sailing close to the wind] watercolour with pen and washed ink by Joseph Sipkes. Signed and dated in the lower left “J. Sipkes, 1831”. Size approx. 11,5 x 14,5 cm. (In frame: 29,5 x 34 cm).
A koff was a sailing ship of Dutch origin that was used for coastal shipping off Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. A typical koff had one and a half masts with a gaff rigged main sail and spanker and one or two square sails in the main top. The hull was plump with a flat bottom and a heavily rounded, raised bow and stern. Due to the shallow draught, koffs were especially suited for inshore shipping in shallow waters.
Koffs were often counted among the galiots by contemporary sources because the differences are very subtle: the galiot was considered more slender and therefore more elegant. On the koff, a deckhouse could be installed between the two masts which would provide shelter for up to twelve crew men.
Little is known about the marine painter Joseph Sipkes (1787-1852) except that he worked in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 19th century. In addition to a number oil paintings, he made beautiful ship portraits in watercolour.