Catalog Archive

Auction 132, Lot 565

"La Premiere Representation de les X Batteries Flottantes",

Subject: Gibraltar

Period: 1790 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

15.4 x 11.5 inches
39.1 x 29.2 cm

Optical prints (or vue d’optique) were made to be viewed in a special apparatus that provided the viewer with an illusion of depth (early 3-D). The large mirror employed in the viewing machine showed the image reversed so many of these views have the titles and information engraved forward and backwards to facilitate viewing in the machine or by hand. These prints were only produced for a short period of time (1740 to 1790) and then were replaced with the invention of the smaller steroviewer. These views are some of the most distinctive and interesting images of the eighteenth century, and their distinctive engraving style, striking perspective and bright original color makes them as visually delightful as they are historically fascinating.

This is a very graphic prospect view illustrating the Great Siege of Gibraltar. This was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. It was the longest siege ever endured in the history of the British armed forces, as well as being one of the longest continuous sieges in the history of the world. The view presents a great scene of the gunboats, bomb-vessels, and floating batteries that the Bourbon allies launched against the fortress on September 13, 1782. Drawn and engraved by Bergniller and published for the Augsburg Academie Imperiale d' Empire des Arts.


Condition: B+

Sharp impression and bold original color. Minor toning with soil in margins.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $110

Closed on 6/2/2010