Auction 169, Lot 520

"A Chart of the Bay of Gibraltar, Including a Small Plan of That Fortress, with the Position of the Military & Naval Force of France and Spain, Present During the Late Siege of That Garrison", Cheevers, John

Subject: Gibraltar, Spain

Period: 1785 (dated)


Color: Black & White

26.2 x 17.8 inches
66.5 x 45.2 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 chart depicts the siege both on land and at sea. A numbered key at left identifies the important locations within the fortified city of Gibraltar, while a lettered key at top right locates additional points of interest throughout the map. The locations and movements of the French and Spanish fleets are shown in great detail. A very striking and uncommon chart.


Condition: B+

Issued folding with minor soiling and archival repairs to several short fold separations. There is a binding trim at right and an adjacent binding tear that just enters less than 1" into image that has also been archivally repaired.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $140

Closed on 9/12/2018