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Contemporary prints and maps of the battles and sieges of the Eighty Years War

Cesare Bassano (1583-1648)

Valenza, 1635

DESCRIPCION DEL SITIO DE VALENCIA DEL PO, Y SVS FORTIFICACIONES, DE 9 DE SEPTIEMBRE 1635 HASTA 28 DE OTVBRE, GOVERNANDO PRIMERO LA PLAZA DON / MARTIN GALIANO SARGENTO MAYOR DEL TERCIO LOMBARDIA, Y ASISTIENDO DE SPVES A LAS... 1639 or later

Etching and engraving; printed from eight copperplates on eight sheets of paper, joined; mounted on paper (Traces of type A mount) | Scale: 1:21,000 approx. | RCIN 722098.a

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A high oblique view of Valenza, defended by the Spanish, commanded by the military governor, Don Martino Galiano and General Carlos Coloma de Saa (1567-23 November 1637), and besieged from 9 September to 28 October by Charles I de Blanchefort (1578-17 March 1638) Seigneur de Créquy, Duc de Lesdiguieres, Marshal of France, and Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma (28 April 1612-11 September 1646) resulting in the lifting of the siege by the French. Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Oriented with south-west to top (cardinal points).

The dedication at the bottom of the map, to each side of a coat of arms (presumably those of the dedicatee) is made to Francisco de Melo de Portugal y Castro (1597-18 December 1651). The coat of arms includes the device of Sicily, of which Melo was Viceroy from 1639 to 1641. It is possible, therefore, that this print was made sometime in or after 1639 and before Melo's defeat at the Battle of Rocroi in 1643. He was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1641 to 1644.

The surveyor and draughtsman of the map, Francesco Prestino (who is perhaps portrayed in a self portrait, bottom right, of a soldier sketching a fortress), was a Milanese military engineer who was succeeded as a Captain of engineers by Gaspare Beretta in 1649 (the scale is given in Milanese units of measure). Prestino was the author of several surveys of fortifications.

The map shows all the earthworks and field fortifications which the Spanish military governor of Valenza, Don Martino Galiano, had ordered the engineer Pompeo Robutti to build. The additional earthen redoubts which were thrown up on the orders of the Spanish General Carlos Coloma are also shown around the city.

The accompanying letterpress text, in Spanish is at RCINs 722098.b and c. These two sheets give a key, A-I, K-Z, and 1-70, to the features marked on the view/map and relate to the events between 21 September and 24 October 1635.

  • Cesare Bassano (1583-1648) (etcher) [bottom left:] Bassani F.

    After Francesco Prestino (fl. c.1635-43) (draughtsman) [bottom left, below text, slightly cropped, to each side of the coat of arms of Francisco de Melo:] Por Franco Prestino Ingeniero de su Magd que asistio dentro de Valencia en el sito

  • Watermark: Hand with flower above

    Condition: five fold lines; wear along folds; 4.5 cm tear to bottom left fold. Verso: induced discolouration

  • Scale: 1:21,000 approx. Scale bar: Scale de b.[with stroke through] 500 di Milano che sono piedi Milla Geometrici [73 mm =].

    141.2 x 95.3 cm (image and sheet)

    cropped (platemark)

  • Printed title:

    DESCRIPCION DEL SITIO DE VALENCIA DEL PO, Y SVS FORTIFICACIONES, DE 9 DE SEPTIEMBRE 1635 HASTA 28 DE OTVBRE, GOVERNANDO PRIMERO LA PLAZA DON / MARTIN GALIANO SARGENTO MAYOR DEL TERCIO LOMBARDIA, Y ASISTIENDO DE SPVES A LAS ORDENES DE LOS SEÑORES MARQVESES DE CELADA, Y DE LOS BALVASES. [across the top]

    Dedication:

    [in bottom margin, to each side of the coat of arms of the dedicatee:] ALEX.MO S.OR DON FRAN.CO DE MELLO GENTILHOMBRE DE LA CAMARA DE SV MAG.D DEL SV CONSS.O DE E STADO EN LA CORONA DE PORTVGAL SV EMBAXADOR EN ALEMANIA EXTRAORDINARIO A LOS PRINCIPES DE ITALIA / MAYORDOMO DE LA REYNA NVESTRA SENORAY PLENIPOTENCIARIO NOMBRADO POR SV MAG.D PARA LA PAZ VNIVERSAL DE LA XPTIANDAD

    Annotations:

    George III heading: Valenza Sep. - Oct. 1635

    Other annotations: none.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Valenza A Plan of the Siege of Valenza by Marshal Crequi and the Duke of Parma in Sept.r and Oct.r 1635: by Fran. Prestino Ing.r engraved by Bassano. [8 sheets]

  • From the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-22 October 1657); inherited by his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689); sold by Carlo Antonio’s grandson to Clement XI, 1703; acquired by Cardinal Alessandro Albani by 1714, from whom purchased by George III in 1762

  • Subject(s)

    Valenza, Piedmont, Italy (45°00ʹ44ʺN 08°38ʹ37ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Gaspare De Caro, ‘Beretta, Gaspare’, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 9, 1967

    For Prestino, see A. Dameri and R. Livraghi, ‘Allessandria disegnata: Città e cartografia tra XV e XVIII secolo’, I Quaderni del Collegio Costruttori ance Alessandria, 2009, pp. 24-25

    G. Hanlon, The hero of Italy: Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma, his soldiers and his subjects in the Thirty Years War, Oxford 2014, p.96 et seq

    M. McDonald ‘Cesare Bassano’s 1635 Siege of Valenza’, Print Quarterly XXVIII 2011, 288-292

    A thumbnail biography of Francisco de Melo is given in J.R. Mulryne et al, Europa Triumphans, p.369, footnote 3

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