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Other 17th-century conflicts

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


View of the siege of Vercelli, 1617 (Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy) 45°19ʹ17ʺN 08°25ʹ11ʺE

1617 or later

Etching; printed on paper; letterpress text printed on the same sheet of paper as the view; mounted on paper (Mount Type A); gilt edges left, bottom and right | 36.0 x 41.4 cm (image and sheet) | RCIN 721139

A middle oblique view of the successful Spanish siege of Savoyard Vercelli from 24 May to 26 July 1617. The Spanish were commanded by Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, 5th Marquis of Villafranca and Governor of Milan (6 September 1546-17 July 1627). Montferrat War of Succession (1613-1630). Oriented with east to top.

See the notes to RCIN 721136.

The compass directions which are indicated bottom left of the view appear to be wrong. The arrow traditionally points north while the symbol of the cross indicates east. The letter ‘O’ stands for ‘Ostro’, or south, while ‘M’ can only be Mezzogiorno which is also south. The letter which would have been used for west is ‘P’ for Ponente. The town of Vercelli in fact faces east across the river Sersia which, at this location, runs north-south and so this view is oriented with east to top.

This detailed if crudely depicted view shows a wealth of detail. Both lines of circum- and contravallation, with the encampments of the various contingents of the Spanish army surround the town on the north, west and south sides. Numerous small fortifications, batteries and trenches encircle the town. The village of Borgo de Vercelli (Borgo Vercelli 45°21ʹ28ʺN 08°27ʹ47ʺE) which actually lies about 5 km to the north-east of Vercelli, is shown on the top centre edge of the print.

  • Donato Rasciotti (active 1580-1602) (publisher) [bottom right, in panel below key:] Donato Racciotti forma.


  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in circle, indistinct design above

    Condition: no fold lines; creased; some brown discolouration; the acid from the ink framing lines has eaten through the mount in places

  • 36.0 x 41.4 cm (image and sheet)

    29.0 x 41.4 cm (image of view)

    cropped (platemark)

    6.1 x 40.8 cm (image of text)

    41.0 x 54.7 cm (mount)

  • Printed title:

    VERO DISEGNO ET SITO / DI VERCELLI IN PIAMONTE / Con l’Assedio Atorno l’ano i617. [top left, in rectangular panel, the greater part of which is blank]

    Additional text:

    [bottom left, in a rectangular panel, a key to the trenches, quarters of the different contingents, forts and posts, A-I; continued in panel bottom right, L-S.] [Below the view, letterpress text:] Nota della persone di qualità, ò di commando, morte, & ferite sotto Vercelli nell’ Armata Spagnuola [followed by a list of the dead and wounded].


    George III heading: Vercelli 1617.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom right, on mount, black pencil:] 1617. (Verso) [bottom, right of centre, red pencil:] 1/121.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Vercelli Vero Disegno et Sito di Vercelli in Piamonte, con l’Assedio atorno l’anno 1617: da Donato Racciotti.


  • Subject(s)

    Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy (45°19ʹ17ʺN 08°25ʹ11ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2821

Page revisions

  • 23 May 2024