Willem Claesz Heda in 1635, our friend Reg Porter who is an award winning historian living in PEI loves books and paintings and I am borrowing this image from his page. regporter.com
This painting is in the RIJKS Museum in Amsterdam, a place that is splendid and newly renovated. The Dutch a protestant merchant nation, truly revolutionized painting with the Protestant Reformation, abandoning the strict school of painting dictated by the Vatican. They had no reasons to follow such narrow confines and invented their own style based on the life in the Netherlands. I always loved those paintings, the detail alone is magnificent, look at the artistry of painting a tablecloth so real you believe you can touch it. The same can be said of the food, the glassware, pewter. The light also in such paintings is always very natural you can almost if you look carefully tell what time of the day it is. In this painting I would guess it is around 1pm.
You can also see a lot of Dutch painters in London, the political alliance between House Of Orange, King William III and Queen Mary, the trade links between the Low countries and England saw lots of exchanges at many levels.
The Fishmonger Hall in London a Georgian Style building next to London Bridge has many paintings by Arnold Von Hacken, here are some of his still life of fish and seafood. He like other painters of the 17th century worked for bankers, merchants, corporations like the Fishmongers who would hire painters to decorate their Halls or Mansions.
The paintings are entitled Wonders of the deep, depicting fish from the rivers of England, the North Sea or Channel. Each painting is a large canvas and is rich in detail, the fish look freshly caught
There are many more better known painters of this era, Vermeer, Van Ruisdael, Rembrandt, Steen, Hals, but they all were in the business of teaching or painting for patrons who gave them commissions. Maybe by looking at such paintings you may think of a fish dish to enjoy. It was Samuel Pepys in his famous diaries describes the barrel of oysters he would eat at lunch in a pub in London near Whitehall where he worked. All was very fresh since the boats came up the river each day and deliver their catch, somewhat like they do here in PEI.