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Ottoman-Habsburg Wars (1521-1791)

Images from eight wars fought between 1570 and 1718

For 200 years, between the beginning of the sixteenth century and the early eighteenth century, Turkey and Austria engaged in numerous wars. On two occasions, in 1532 and in 1683, the Austrians successfully defended Vienna against the Ottomans. This section illustrates the changing fortunes of both sides over two centuries.

With the exception of the six latest items, all the maps and views covering these wars were acquired, in the first instance, by the Italian collector, Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588–1657) and his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606–89). After Carlo Antonio’s death in 1689, the collection was eventually sold by his grandson to Pope Clement XI (reg. 1700–21) in 1703. In 1714, it passed to the Pope’s nephew, Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692–1779), from whom it was purchased in 1762 by George III.

These prints formed part of the celebrated ‘Paper Museum’ which was built up by the dal Pozzos from purchases made from the flourishing printmaking industry, primarily in Italy, but also in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Many of the items are rare or are early impressions from the copperplates. They document the conflicts of the day and, in the seventeenth century, were often accompanied by letterpress text giving up-to-date information about, for example, the progress of a siege.

The dal Pozzos took care to arrange and present their prints and drawings in logical subject divisions such as costumes, architecture, portraits, natural history and military conflicts. The items were mounted on paper, sometimes with ink framing lines drawn around the print (mount type A) and sometimes without (mount type B). These two types of paper mount can be seen on the prints of the military engagements in this section.

Suleiman’s early wars in the west (1521-44)

One print showing the siege of Rhodes

The Vienna Campaign (1529-33)

Features the earliest map in George's collection

Conflicts in the Mediterranean (1532-65)

Including the Great Siege of Malta in 1565

Suleiman’s Later Wars in Europe (1537-66)

Suleiman's final campaigns, up until his death

Siege of Tunis 1574

The final conquest of Tunis from the Spanish Empire

The Long War (1591/3-1606)

Initial Austrian success is overturned by the Ottomans

Fourth Austro-Turkish War (1663-4)

A failed Ottoman attempt on Vienna

Great Turkish War (1683-99)

A series of major conflicts between the Holy League and Ottomans

Austro-Turkish War (1716-18)

Disastrous invasion by the Ottomans leading to the death of Ali Pasha