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


Naval battle near Rhodes, 1644

CONBAT ∙ NAVAL ∙ 1645 ∙ c.1645

Etching and engraving; printed on paper; mounted on paper (Mount Type B made from a re-used Mount Type A) | 14.8 x 51.6 cm (image and sheet) | RCIN 723062.a

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A view of the naval battle off Rhodes fought on 28 September 1644 between six ships of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem of Malta, commanded by Gabrielle Boisbaudran de Chambres (d.28 September 1644) and ten Ottoman ships, resulting in a Maltese victory. Precursor to the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War (1645-1669)

This view depicts the Maltese ships St JeanSt LaurentSt JosephSte Marie and La Victoire engaging with the ships of the Turkish convoy and, to the left, Boisbaudran's vessel, La Capitaine shown mistakenly chasing a Greek ship. Boisbaudran was killed in the fighting as well as many of the Turkish passengers and crew. This incident was a significant cause of the outbreak of the Fifth Venetian-Ottoman War in the following year.

The date of 1645 in the title is an error. There is confusion in contemporary sources about the date of this action and the confusion may have arisen from the fact that, on 28 September 1645 there was another action which involved larger numbers of ships and forces. A print, very closely based on RCIN 723062.a, appears between pages 808 and 809 of the fifth volume of Merian's Theatrum Europeum (1651 edition) and that, too, gives the date as 1645. The date of 28 September 1644 for this action, describing all the ships shown in this view, and the death of the Maltese commander, Boisbaudran, is given in Blackmore p.85. The accompanying letterpress text (RCINs 723062.b, c) gives a full acount of the action and names the Maltese dead.

A later state of this print, on which the upper case letters A-D have been engraved, was published together with an engraved key below the view and with, pasted above, a separate plate including an oval portrait of Boisbaudran above his coat of arms all flanked by elaborate swags of oak leaves and drapes. The whole is enclosed by an ornamental frame typical of the later prints of Les glorieuses conquêtes de Louis le Grand (1676-1694; see examples in the two volumes at RCIN 723027).

  • Anonymous (printmaker)

  • Watermark: View: none visible. Mount: none.
    Condition: one fold line; small tears repaired with paper; some brown discolouration; some foxing
  • 14.8 x 51.6 cm (image and sheet)

    cropped (platemark)

    17.3 x 51.8 cm (mount)

  • Printed title:

    CONBAT · NAVAL · 1645 · [top centre, in banderole]


    George III heading: Naval Engagement near Rhodes 28 Sep 1645.

    Other annotations: none.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Rhodes Vue de la Victoire Navale remportée sur les Turcs par les Galeres de la Religion de S.t Jean de Jerusalaem pres de Rhodes le 28 de 1645; avec une Description: chez A. de Vauconsain.

  • 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)

    Ródos, South Aegean, Greece (36°22ʹ59ʺN 28°13ʹ35ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    D.S.T. Blackmore, Warfare on the Mediterranean in the Age of Sail: a history, 1571-1866, Jefferson NC 2011

    Mark McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 3182

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