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

Gottfried de Scaichi (active 1621-46)

Siege of Orbetello, 1646

IL VERO .E REALE ASSEDIO D ORBETELLO Assediato nel mese di Maggio 1646 1646 or later

Engraving; printed on paper; gilt edges right and bottom | 39.5 x 53.4 cm (image) | RCIN 723063

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A high oblique view of the Spanish-held fortress town of Orbetello, besieged between 12 May and 24 July by the French, commanded by Thomas Francis of Savoy, Prince of Carignano (21 December 1596-22 January 1656), who were eventually obliged to lift the siege after the arrival of a Spanish relief army commanded by Gerolamo Maria Caracciolo, Marqués de Torrecuso, and Rodrigo Ponce de León, 4th Duke of Arcos. Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659).

Orbetello was one of the main strongholds on the stretch of the Italian Tuscan coast which had been a Spanish dependency since 1557. This print shows the landing of the French troops just south of Talamone (42°33ʹ12ʺN  11°07ʹ58ʺE) and a further group of French ships bombarding Porto San Stefano (42°26ʹ23ʺN  11°06ʹ59ʺE), which eventually surrendered. The governor of Orbetello, Don Carlo de la Gatta retreated to the hermitage of Cristo with just 200 Spanish and Italian soldiers. A small Spanish naval relief force, sent to assist Porto Ercole (42°24ʹ06ʺN  11°12ʹ19ʺE) shown here at the bottom of the print), was beaten back.

This does not show the naval Battle of Orbetello which was fought on 14 June 1646 between a French fleet, commanded by Admiral Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé, Marquis de Brézé (18 October 1619-14 June 1646), and Spanish ships, sent to try to break the siege and relieve the town, commanded by Miguel de Noronha, 4th Count of Linhares (1585-1647).

The plate is very worn and shows signs of having been reused, or of detail from an earlier state having been erased. Monaca (2013) notes that according to Barabesi this print is 'rather rare' and that although Monaca had not seen an original copy himself, Barabesi records that there was a photograph of it in the Historical Archives of Piombino (p.255, footnote 52.)

An example of this print is reproduced on the cover of La Battaglia di Orbetello del 1646 e Carlo della Gatta (notizie storiche) by Angelo Biondi. Siena, Edizione Cantagalli, 1997.

  • Gottfried de Scaichi (active 1621-46) (publisher) [[bottom left, inside neatline:] Gottifredo Descaichi excudebat si vendano alli Cornai, con licentia de Superiori Roma]

  • Watermark: Anchor within a circle

    Condition: slight brown discolouration

  • 39.5 x 53.4 cm (image)

    cropped (platemark)

    40.5 x 54.1 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    IL VERO .E REALE ASSEDIO D ORBETELLO Assediato nel mese di Maggio 1646. [across top]

    Additional text:

    [bottom right, in rectangular panel with ornamental border, a key, 1-24:] LVOGHI PRINCIPALI D' ORBETELLO

    Annotations:

    George III heading: Orbitello May 1646.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [bottom right, illegible traces of red pencil].

    George III catalogue entry:

    Orbitello Il vero et reale Assedio d’Orbetello, assediato nel mese de Maggio 1646: da Gottifredo Descaichi.

  • 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)

    Orbetello, Tuscany, Italy (42°26ʹ30ʺN 11°13ʹ17ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    An example of this print is reproduced on the cover of A. Biondi, La Battaglia di Orbetello del 1646 e Carlo della Gatta (notizie storiche), Siena, 1997

    A. Ademollo, L’assedio di Orbetello dell’ anno 1646, Grossetto 1883

    G. Della Monaca, 1646 Orbetello L’assedio memorabile storia, personaggi, cartografia, letteratura, Rome 2013, pp. 255-256, plate XXX

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 3187

    R. Barabesi, Bibliografia della Provincia di Grosseto, Grosseto 1930

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