Hermanus Koekkoek the Elder was born in Middelburg on the 13th March 1815. He was the son of maritime artist Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851) and brother of the famous Romantic landscape painter Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862). The Koekkoek artist family spanned five generations and Hermanus the Elder specialised in painting Romantic sea views and harbour scenes.
Hermanus the Elder drew upon the 17th century tradition of Dutch maritime painting and was strongly influenced by the work of Ludolph Bakhuisen (1630-1708) and Jan van de Cappelle (circa. 1624-1679). He painted seascapes in a highly detailed manner in his studio using hundreds of outdoor sketches of maritime vessels, figure studies and seascapes. This portfolio of sketches was passed down from father to son in the Koekkoek family and many motifs like fisherman in small vessels and plants are repeated in their paintings.
Hermanus the Elder moved to
He died in Haarlem on the 5th November 1882.