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2 Atlas/ 80 manuscript maps/ plans / Virtual Book Fair 106

Description: Magnificent atlas with 80 mostly coloured manuscript maps and fortification plans

[FORTIFICATION ATLAS].
[Collection of 80 manuscript maps and plans of fortifications, fortified towns and fortified estates].


[The Netherlands, ca. 1624-1628]. Large folio (42.5 x 29.5 cm). Early 18th-century(?) sprinkled tanned sheepskin, gold-tooled board edges, edges sprinkled red, rebacked, restored and with new endpapers. With 80 manuscript maps and plans, 75 double-page (2 with a flap folded in), 4 larger folding (including 3 assembled from 1 1/2 sheets), and 1 also double-page in size but assembled from 2 smaller sheets. Most include a scale and 71 are coloured, mostly in opaque gouaches. They show plans of fortifications and towns in the Netherlands (51), Germany (16), Italy (3), France (4), Poland (2), Belgium (2), Malta (1) and Brazil (1). From the Blenheim Library, assembled by Charles Spencer (1675-1722), third Earl of Sunderland.

Magnificent atlas containing 80 mostly coloured manuscript maps and plans showing fortifications, fortified cities, fortresses and castles, often representing the situations during sieges in the first decade of the Thirty Years' War (the later part of the Dutch Eighty Years' War). Twelve of the maps indicate years, all but one in the period 1622 to 1628, and many others can be associated with sieges in that period. Five give the year 1628 and none a later year, so the atlas was probably compiled in that year or soon after (two giving the year 1624 can easily be misread as 1629). One map explicitly notes that it was drawn in 1612, but it differs from the others in many respects: the compiler probably inserted this earlier map with the otherwise recently drawn ones.
Most of the maps were drawn soon after the end of the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-1621), when the Eighty Years' War with Spain was resumed, first under the leadership of Stadtholder Maurits, until his death in 1625, then under his brother Frederik Hendrik, the 'Stededwinger' (conqueror of cities). During the military campaigns in the years 1621-1630 many cities were reconquered, including Bergen op Zoom in 1622 (maps 3 and 29), Grol in 1627/8 (maps 6 and 16; cf. 43), Rees in 1622 (map 27), Breda in 1625 (map 30) and Steenbergen in 1627 (map 71). Many plans also show a cross-section of the fortifications and most indicate the scale in "roeden" (rods), probably using the official Rhineland rod of 3.767 m. Many show pin-holes, primarily where lines meet to form corners, made by the draftsman to aid in drawing the lines.
One map was backed with blank paper (before it was pricked and drawn), obscuring the watermark, but about 50 of the 80 maps show closely related paper stocks watermarked with the coat of arms of a descendent of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I, probably an outdated form (1585-1590) of the arms of his son Archduke Ernst of Austria (1553-1595), briefly governor of the Low Countries before his premature death. Paper watermarked with these arms was used in the Netherlands until at least 1631, and the closest match we have found in the literature (Laurentius 159) was used at The Hague in 1624. These maps show dates or datable sieges from 1622 to 1625. The paper of another 12 maps shows closely related watermarks not close to any in the literature (Strasbourg bend above WR: cf. Laurentius 75, used in The Hague in 1614) but the dated maps and datable sieges in that group range from 1622 to 1628. Six maps without dates show closely related elephant watermarks, not close to any in the literature. Another 8 show 6 different paper stocks, perhaps all from the same period. The one map dated 1612 is drawn on 2 small sheets pasted together, each sheet watermarked with a Basel crosier above a cross with "D"(?) and 3 rings, from Düring in Basel. We find no good match, but several related marks appeared in the 1590s and early 1600s, some in used Holland. The fact that so many plans show closely related watermarks suggests that most of the drawings were made together, rather than at the sites during the sieges, but they were probably based on sketches and measurements made at the sites. Four name the draftsmen, whether of the final plan or of the preliminary one on which it was based. That of Bahia in Brazil is by Goos Coeck, master military engineer; that of Bergen op Zoom by the engineer Tretaran; the 1612 map of Mülheim by Jordan von der Waghe; and that of the 14th-century fortified estate "Huis ter Eem" for the Bishopric of Utrecht by a certain J... ... whose name was deliberately obscured by an early owner who scribbled over it in ink. The palace was torn down in 1706.

Charles Spencer (1675-1722), third Earl of Sunderland, assembled a remarkable library at his estate Althorp in the last years of his life. His descendents moved part of it to Blenheim Palace in 1749 and that part was sold in several auctions in 1881 and 1882. The present atlas appears in the catalogue as "Hollandia, Ichnographia Aggerum at Castellorum in Hollandia", perhaps the spine title before the book was restored. It must have passed then or soon after to the Theological Institute of Connecticut, established at East Windsor Hill, Connecticut, in 1834, which moved to Hartford in 1865, where it became the present-day Hartford Seminary. It continued under its original name, which appears in the blind embossed stamp in the first and last plans in the album, until 1885. With most maps in very good condition, a few with small tears on the edges or along the folds. The binding has been re-backed and shows other restorations. A unique and important primary source for the study of the Dutch fight for independence from Spain, the cities of the period (especially in the Netherlands) and their fortifications at a time when the newly proclaimed Dutch Republic was revolutionizing military engineering.
Puttick & Simpson, London, 19 July 1882 (Earl of Sunderland/Blenheim Library auction), lot 6252; cf. Scholten, Militaire topografische kaarten 1597-1795 (1989); Westra, Nederlandse ingenieurs en de fortificatiewerken (1992).
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