Auction 157, Lot 599

"A Plan of the Batteries Erected Before Gibraltar, with the Attacks Made by Sea and Land on That Garrison by the Duke de Crillon and Admiral Moreno, on the 13th of September, 1782...", Ashby, H.

Subject: Gibraltar

Period: 1785 (circa)

Publication: A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar

Color: Hand Color

12.8 x 18.5 inches
32.5 x 47 cm

This plan depicts the Great Siege of Gibraltar, the largest and longest action fought during the American War of Independence. Through much of the 18th century, Gibraltar served as a strategic port for controlling trade in the Mediterranean. At the end of the War of Spanish Succession, Britain gained control of Gibraltar in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Spain sought to recapture the peninsula, however repeated negotiations between Britain and Spain failed. In 1779, Spain signed a treaty with France to combine forces in recovering lost territories from Britain. After the outbreak of the American War of Independence, Spain declared war on Britain and sought help from its French ally to recapture Gibraltar. The height of the siege occurred on September 13, 1782, known as the Grand Assault. The Spanish and French had formed a fleet of 10 battering ships just off the coast of Gibraltar, assisted by numerous Spanish gunboats and bomb-vessels, as well as an army of 35,000 Spanish and French troops on land. On September 13 they opened fire on the British from both land and sea, but were readily defeated by the British with their "red-hot shot." The Spanish failed to regain Gibraltar, with the siege finally ending on February 7, 1783.

This bird's-eye plan depicts the British fortifications in Gibraltar, as well as the Spanish lines and a "neutral ground" between them. The 10 battering ships are shown off the coast, and an inset depicts the port and starboard sides of two battering ships, with Algeciras, Spain in the background. Engraved by Ashby. This plan was published in A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar by Col. John Drinkwater, who was stationed in Gibraltar during the siege.


Condition: B+

Issued folding, now pressed, with folds reinforced on verso with tissue and minor offsetting. A binding trim at left has been replaced, and a corresponding binding tear that enters 5" into image adjacent to ships at left has been archivally repaired.

Estimate: $275 - $350


Closed on 5/4/2016