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Contemporary maps and prints of the major battles and sieges from 1635 to 1658

Livio Mehus (1630-91)

Piombino, 1650

Espugnazione delle Fortificaz:e e Piazza di Piombino fatta dall’ / Armi di S.M. Catt.ca il di 8 Luglio sotto il Comando, / dell’ Illmo Ecc.mo S Conte d Conuersano, Pu’ a le della / Caualleria d S.M. Firenze 15 Ag.to 1650 1650 or later

Etching; printed on paper | 33.5 x 44.9 cm (image and platemark) | RCIN 723091

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A low-high oblique view of Piombino, a Spanish base on the coast of Tuscany which had been captured by the French in 1646 and shown here, retaken by the Spanish, from 25 May to 8 July in 1650. Franco-Spanish War (1645-1659). Oriented with south to top (cardinal points).

See also RCINs 806055 and 806056. There appear to be two states of this print. The BM entry for this print (Registration Number 1874,0808.1399) notes that De Vesme (De Vesme/Massar (1971) 882.II) thought that this image, and its companion the siege of Porto Longone (RCIN 723092) was not entirely done by Stefano della Bella and that his work was probably restricted to the figures in the foreground and cites an unfinished proof in the Albertina which shows only the foreground figures, without any of the detail in the background, as supporting evidence for De Vesme's theory.

It is possible that De Vesme had read Thomas Dodd's study of della Bella where, on p.16, he relates how in about 1650 della Bella met the young artist Livio Mehus, the co-author of this print, at the court of Prince Mattias de' Medici (1613-1667) in Florence. It is recorded that the sieges of Piombino and Porto Longone in that year appealed to the imagination of della Bella and, receiving details of the two attacks from the Spanish Quarter-Master-General Denis Guerini, della Bella, with the assistance of Mehus, produced the two plates of the sieges.

Dodd states that Baldinucci (presumably Filippo Baldinucci (1624-1697)), asserted that the etching of Piombino was done principally by Mehus, under the guidance of della Bella, while, in turn, the plate of Porto Longone was mainly the work of della Bella.

  • Livio Mehus (1630-91) (etcher and dedicator) [top left, below title, in title cartouche:] Liuio, Meus, Dona, e dedica

    ? Stefano della Bella (1610-64) (etcher)

  • Watermark: Indistinct; countermark: a mound of five boulders, three at the base

    Condition: verso: surface dirt, especially along right edge

  • 33.5 x 44.9 cm (image and platemark)

    38.8 x 48.8 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    Espugnazione delle Fortificaz:e e Piazza di Piombino fatta dall’ / Armi di S.M. Catt.ca il di 8 Luglio sotto il Comando, / dell’ Illmo Ecc.mo S Conte d Conuersano, Pu’ a le della / Caualleria d S.M. Firenze 15 Ag.to 1650 [top left, in scroll]

    Additional text:

    [bottom, below print, a key, A-I, K, L.]

    Annotations:

    George III heading: Piombino 8 July 1650.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom right, black pencil, in an early twentieth-century hand:] S della Bella see Book [and, in a later hand:] De Vesme 882(I) . (Verso) none.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Piombino Epugnazione delle Fortificazioni e Piazza di Piombino fatta dall’ armi di S.M. Catt.ca il di 8 Luglio 1650, sotto il comando del Conte di Conversano (da Stefano della Bella) 1650.

  • From the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Piombino, Tuscany, Italy (42°55ʹ31ʺN 10°31ʹ33ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    T. Dodd, A Collection of Etchings by that inimitable artist Stefanino Della Bella [[[ to which is added a Biographical Memoir of The Artist, London 1818, p. 16

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