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Printed and manuscript maps, prints and views of 22 seventeenth-century wars

? Jan Wyck (Haarlem c. 1645-Mortlake 1700)

Battle of Aughrim, 1691

The Battell of Agrim 1691 or later

Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour on two pieces of paper, joined; laid down on card mount with inner gilt framing line and outer ink and wash framing lines | 28.7 x 56.1 cm (image and sheet) | RCIN 724052

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A drawing of the Battle of Aughrim, fought on 12 [22nd N.S.] July 1691, between the Williamite army, commanded by General Godert de Ginkell, later 1st Earl of Athlone (1630-1703), and the Irish Jacobite army, commanded by the French General Charles Chalmont, marquis de St Ruth (c.1650-91), resulting in a Williamite victory in which the General Chalmont was killed. Williamite-Jacobite War in Ireland (1688-91), part of the Nine Years War (1688-97)

The attribution of the drawing to Jan Wyck is made on the basis of the George III catalogue entry, the compiler of which probably had access to earlier catalogues that appear no longer to exist. Wyck was a Dutch artist who came to England in about 1664 and made his name painting horses, battle, and hunting scenes. He painted William III at the Battle of the Boyne and the siege of Namur, and he also painted the siege of Derry.

The view looks southwards, with Aughrim shown to the south-east (top right), nestling under the lee of Aughrim Hill, and shows the Williamite army, which had marched from Ballinasloe to the north-east of Aughrim, moving in an unstructured column towards the town.

The Earl of Somers who is referred to in the annotations on the verso of the item does not refer to John Cocks, 1st Earl Somers (1760-1841) who did not receive his Earldom until 1821, after the death of George III in 1820.

It is probable that the ‘Somers’ here referred to is Lord Somers: John, Baron Somers (1651-1716), a lawyer and politician who became, under William III, solicitor-general, then attorney-general, lord keeper of the great seal, a privy councillor and finally lord chancellor before being dismissed by the king in 1700. Somers was a patron of the arts and had a private collection of thousands of books, hundreds of manuscripts, about 4,000 drawings as well as a print collection. His private life was apparently marked by an absence of morality; unmarried, he had several mistresses of whom one is reputed to have been Elizabeth Blount [also spelled ‘Blunt’], the married daughter of the diplomat Sir Richard Fanshawe. Elizabeth Blount was born in 1662 and married Christopher Blount in 1684 and was apparently Somers’s ‘intimate friend’ between 1694 and 1700.

The death date of Mrs Elizabeth Blount does not appear to be known and there is, therefore, some uncertainty over the identity of the person who acquired this drawing from her.

  • ? Jan Wyck (Haarlem c. 1645-Mortlake 1700) (draughtsman)

  • Watermark: None visible

    Mark, stamped: 38

    Condition: surface dirt; creased; brown discolouration; two worm holes, left, created before the item was laid down on card; small piece missing from top left corner. Verso: brown discolouration; black pencil ruled lines top, right and bottom; abrasions to top and bottom suggesting that the item may formerly have been laid down on some other form of support

  • 28.7 x 56.1 cm (image and sheet)

    37.9 x 61.9 cm (mount)

  • Manuscript title:

    The Battell of Agrim [bottom centre]

    Annotations:

    George III heading: Battle of Aghrim 12 July 1691.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [top right, ink, on painting, three initials, cropped: RR?]. (Verso) [top centre, ink:] I bought this drawing from Mrs Blunt / it belonged to the Earl of Somers & cost me £5:0:0 / N:B: Mrs Blunt who had a taste was an / intimate friend of the Earls [right of this inscription, black pencil, probably referring to the timing of the microfilming or fiche of this item:] 1 sec.; [bottom left, black pencil, erased:] 1/[40]

    George III catalogue entry:

    Aghrim A drawn View of the Battle of Aghrim, 12 July 1691; by Wycke.

  • From the collection of drawings formed by John, Baron Somers (1651-1716), from whence it passed to Mrs Elizabeth Fanshawe Blount (b.1662) then possibly purchased by Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65), third son of George II; subsequently acquired by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Aughrim, Connaught, Ireland (53°17ʹ42ʺN 08°18ʹ43ʺW)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    K. Gibson, ‘Wyck , Jan (c.1645-1700)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, online edn, Jan 2008

    S. Handley, ‘Somers, John, Baron Somers (1651-1716)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, online edn, May 2008

    M.D. Manley, The New Atlantis, 2 vols, London 1710, vol. II, pp. 492-3

    M.D. Manley, Memoirs of Europe, 2 vols, London 1710, vol. I, pp. 218-21

    Sarah, Lady Marlborough, Private correspondence, London 1838, p. 148

    J. Swift, Works of Jonathan Swift [Google e-book; an indexed e-compendium of works by Swift], (n.d.) Footnote 16 [no page number] refers to Mrs Manley, ‘in her “Memoirs of Europe towards the Close of the Eighteenth Century,’ … Speaking of Somers under the name Cicero, she says: “Cicero, Madam, is by birth a plebeian” … He prostituted his inimitable sense, reason, and good nature … and what made this commerce more detestable, this mistress of his was a wife!” … (i.,200; ii., 54, 83). The mistress is said to be Mrs. Blunt, daughter of Sir R. Fanshaw.’

    P. Zagorin, Culture and Politics from Puritanism to the Enlightenment, Berkeley 1980, pp. 184-5

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