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A magnificent and extremely rare contemporary hand-coloured suite of 115 numbered plates of the protagonists of the Austrian Succession wars

[115 contemporary hand-coloured engraved plates picturing 18th-century European military life].
Augsburg, Martin Engelbrecht, ca. 1742. Folio. 115 engraved and magnificent hand-coloured plates, highlighted with gold and silver, drawn by C.P. Maj and executed and printed by the Augsburg engraver and art publisher Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756). With separately printed engraved captions consisting of a (sometimes 2-line) title and a poem of 4 or 5 lines in French below each plate (except plates 55-56 which have a German caption printed below and a French caption in the plate), pointing out the characteristics of the man depicted. Modern red morroco, marbled sides. 115 plates.
€ 65,000
Extremely rare suite with 115 hand-coloured plates of the protagonists of the Austrian Succession wars. This collection of costume plates is very rare: neither Lipperheide nor Colas records it and we find only a few separate plates on the market and in libraries. We find only 7 sets recorded in the last 100 years with varing make-up and number of plates.
The work was apparently also published and sold with the title Theatre de la milice etrangere: Schau-Bühne verschiedener bisher in Teutschland unbekant gewester Soldaten von ausländischer Nationen, also published by Engelbrecht (ca. 1746?), but with other, bilingual French and German captions printed below the plates. The plates show us lively pictures of the protagonists, especially of the foreign mercenaries, in action - often fiercely and ruthlessly - on the battlefields of 18th-century Europe during the War of the Austrian Succession and the first and second Selesian wars (ca. 1740-1748), the last Great Power conflict with the Bourbon-Habsburg dynastic conflict at its heart, and marked by the rise of Prussia as a major power.
Thirty engravings are devoted to the Habsburg monarchy's military border, including a portrait of their famous commander Colonel Baron Francis von der Trenck (1711-1749), while fifteen more show Scottish Highlanders ("Montagnards dEcosse"), eleven Hungarian foot soldiers ("Tolpatches"), six Prussian Hussars from the regiment of Baron Johann Daniël von Menzel, including a portrait of him, six Fantasins (infantry from Carlstadt (Karlovac, Croatia), Uhlanen (light Polish-Lithuanian cavalry), Hajduk (irregular infantry), Dalmatians (Morlachs), Serbs and Croats (Varasdin). There are plates of officers and commanders as well as common soldiers, many fighting on horseback; some soldiers waving the flag of their unit, or playing the flute, trumpet, drums or bagpipes. Some are depicted with their wives (or mistresses) and children, including a plate of a sutler (someone who sold provisions); many apear against an interesting background picturing camps, cities, fortresses and soldiers cooking or being punished.
Paper edges slightly soiled, otherwise in very good condition. A set of 115 very rare numbered plates of military costumes. Cf. Friedrich Schott, Der Augsburger Kupferstecher und Kunstverleger Martin Engelbrecht und seine Nachfolger: ein Beitrag z. Gesch. D. Augsburger Kunst- und Buchhandels von 1719 bis 1896 (1924), 2354-2474 (3 sets with 95, 20 & 6 ll.); WorldCat (2 copies of the Theatre de la milice etrangere); not in Catalogue de costume militaires. Autriche-Hongrie (Paris 1928); Colas; Hiler; Lipperheide.
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Art, architecture & photography  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours
Europe  >  Central & Eastern Europe | Drawings, Photographs, Prints & Watercolours | Germany
Military history  >  Costumes & Uniforms | Military History 18th Century