Rare manuscript plan of Brussels
By GAYET, 1746
Plan des Attaques de la Ville de Bruxelles ou la Trancheé sut ouverte la nuit du 7. au 8. Fevrier et qui S’est rendue le 19. Du meme mois de l’Anneé 1746.
- Author: GAYET
- Publication date: 1746.
- Physical description: Manuscript plan with fine original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on linen, key below title and plan.
- Dimensions: 830 by 500mm (32.75 by 19.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 2700
The plan renders the city and the surrounding area in great detail, depicting rivers, canals, fortifications, field boundaries, street, gardens, and principal buildings. A key plan lists 113 buildings, gateways, and defensive points. To the left of the plan the French trenches are highlighted in yellow, with the range and direction of the artillery in red.
The Siege of Brussels took place between January and February 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession. A French army under the overall command of Maurice de Saxe, in a bold and innovative winter campaign besieged and captured the city of Brussels, which was then the capital of the Austrian Netherlands, from its Austrian garrison.
The French were boosted by the fact that a large part of the Allied army was forced to return to Britain where a Jacobite Rising of 1745 had broken out and Bonnie Prince Charlie had won a stunning victory at the Battle of Prestonpans. This left very few troops to actively oppose the French forces. After the French made two breaches in the walls of Brussels, the Austrian defenders were compelled to surrender on 22 February in a siege that lasted just three weeks.
The governor of the Austrian Netherlands, Count Kaunitz, was forced to withdraw his administration north to Antwerp. The siege severely damaged his view of Austria’s allies, principally Britain and the Dutch Republic, who he considered had done virtually nothing to protect Brussels from the French. A decade later Kaunitz would be one of the architects of the Franco-Austrian Alliance in which Austria abandoned its former alliance with Britain and joined with its traditional enemy France.
The French followed up the capture of Brussels by taking other key cities and fortresses in the Austrian Netherlands including Mons and Namur. Brussels remained under French occupation until it was returned to Austria by the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle along with the rest of the Austrian Netherlands, although it was January 1749 before the French finally evacuated the city.
Scale: (approx.) 15cm to 1km.
Charles Louis d’Albert de Luynes (1717–1771) was a French nobleman and member of the House of Albert. He was the fifth Duke of Luynes as well as Duke of Chevreuse.
He took part in the war in 1733 in the War of the Polish Succession. He also took part in campaigns in 1735 and 1745, the latter in the War of the Austrian Succession, and was injured in combat at Sahay at the head of the Dragoons. He participated in the attack of Prague in 1742, and also assisted in various sieges and battles of the era.
In 1754, he was created a Colonel General of the Dragoons. From 1757 to 1771, he was the Gouverneur de Paris (Military governor of Paris), an ancient and prestigious rank representing the king in the capital. He also was created a Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit at Versailles on 2 February 1759.
He died in Paris in his Hôtel. He was buried at the Chapelle de Saint Jean l’Évangeliste at the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.