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Other 16th-century conflicts

Contemporary maps of 10 sixteenth-century wars


View of the Battle of Gravelines, 1558 (Gravelines, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France) 50°59ʹ11ʺN  20°07ʹ41ʺE

1558 or later

Etching with engraving; printed on paper; mounted on paper (Mount Type A); gilt edges left, bottom, and right | 29.6 x 42.5 cm (image and sheet) | RCIN 721029

A middle oblique view of the Battle of Gravelines, fought on 13 July 1558 between Spain and the Duchy of Savoy, commanded by Lamoral, Count of Egmont (18 November 1522-5 June 1568) and France, commanded by Maréchal Paul de Thermes (1482-1562), resulting in a Spanish victory. The last Valois-Habsburg War (1547-1559). Oriented with north (SEPTENTRIO) to top.

The Battle of Gravelines was the last, and perhaps most decisive battle of the Valois-Habsburg War. It happened because Marshal de Thermes, aware that the Habsburg garrisons in Flanders were generally at low strength, took advantage of the opportunity to raid a wealthy region whose defences were weak. Knowing that Dunkirk was stocked with valuable merchandise, he risked the route which took him past the well-fortified garrison of Gravelines, a Spanish frontier stronghold. Marching from Calais, he took Dunkirk after two days’ bombardment – it is shown in flames to the top right of this view.

He then made an offensive against the wealthy town of Bergues, also shown here, bottom right, in flames following his attack. Intending, now, to attack Gravelines, the reconnaissance reports of his officers, which revealed too strong a target, persuaded Thermes to return to Calais. However, his twelve days of raids had given the Spanish commander, Egmont, time to assemble a substantial army, identified in this view by the standards flying the St Andrew’s cross. Egmont came between the French (whose camp is shown here with wagons laden with booty and plunder) and Calais, flanking them on the right with the German troops (annotated here: ‘Tedeschi’). Egmont’s forces were repulsed in the early stages of the battle, as shown in this view, but, assisted by cannon fire from the English navy, seen here off the French coast, finally prevailed.

  • Anonymous (cartographer)


  • Watermark: Lozenge with six-pointed star in circle [see Woodward no. 289]

    Condition: two fold lines; creased; cropped to edge of image; some staining; pressure marks are present along the bottom of the mount from mounted items which were placed above/below this item in a former collection. Verso: ink blot, centre; surface dirt; some foxing and brown stains

  • 29.6 x 42.5 cm (image and sheet)

    cropped (platemark)

    41.2 x 54.8 cm (mount)

  • Printed title:

    Eccouj amantsmi lectorj il uero sita della Battaglia data nel Anno 1558. / a di 13 di luglio intorno a Grauellina infra l’ Campo de Philippo Re di / Spagna, et di Inghliterra [etc] et Henricho Re di Francia; nella quale resto / có grandissima uictoria quello del Re Philippo, mediante prima l'aiuto de / Dio, et poi la uirtu e prudenza del Conte de Egmont et altri ualorosissimj / sigri Onde son remasti prigionj. jl S. d'Termes General Gouern. de / Cales e Maerscial di Francia. [bottom right, in a cartouche ornamented with strapwork:]

    Additional text:

    [below title, in title cartouche, the names of the principal officers.]


    George III heading: Battle of Gravelines 13 July 1558.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom right, black pencil:] 1558. (Verso) [top left, black pencil:] I/30 [or is this ‘II/30’?]; [top left, on mount, red pencil:] 1/27; [top right, partly erased, black pencil:] Gravelines [bottom right of print, an ink miniature drawing of a man on horseback and two men with halberds; also in ink: S. Aless.o le Grand ... [the rest is cropped.]

    George III catalogue entry:

    Gravelines La Battaglia data nel anno 1558 a di 13 di Luglio intorno a Gravellina fra Philippo Re di Spagna et Henrico Re di Francia.

  • Subject(s)

    Gravelines, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France (50°59ʹ11ʺN 20°07ʹ41ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    C. Oman, History of the art of war in the sixteenth century, London 1937, pp. 275-280

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2662

Page revisions

  • 25 May 2024