Petrus Johannes Schotel was a pupil of his father Johannes Christiaan Schotel. In 1833 he became a member of the Royal Academy in Amsterdam and his oeuvre consists of paintings and drawings of seascapes and ships. Furthermore, very fine etchings and lithographs of his hand have been preserved. Work by this artist can be admired in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Teylers Foundation in Haarlem and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and the Maritime Museum Prins Hendrik in Rotterdam, amongst others.
In 1840, Schotel accompanied the Dutch naval squadron drills in the North Sea. In 1843 he was invited by Prince Hendrik, brother of King Willem III to join a drill of the naval squadron to the Mediterranean Sea. The squadron consisted of three frigates, two corvettes, three brigs and a steamship. The squadron of nine ships was commanded by Prince Hendrik, also called ‘Hendrik de Zeevaarder’ on the frigate the Rijn and Schotel had the opportunity to make plenty of drawings and sketches, starting with the ship’s departure at the port of Vlissingen on 2 August 1843 and until their return on 18 October. This set of drawings gives a good impression of their journey. Several bear inscriptions naming the portrayed frigates, the places, manoeuvres or dates, for example: ‘De Haai resterend voor Gibraltar’ (The Shark at Rest by Gibraltar), and ‘Zeilorde den 17 aug 1843’ (Sailing Order on 17 August 1843). At their stop at Gibraltar, Schotel received special permission from the Governor of Gibraltar to ‘take landscape sketches of the Rock’; some of these sketches are included in this set. On his return, Schotel developed some of his sketches into oil paintings, which were purchased, amongst others, by Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands and became part of the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. Other artists who took part in the journey of 1843 where Albertus van Beest (1820-1880) and Louis Meijer (1809-1866).