Rare manuscript plan of the 1733 siege of Milan

1733 
£2,000
£1,200

Plan des Attaques du Chateau de Milan faites le 17 xbre par l’Armee de France et de Sardeine commandee par le Duc de Savoye et M. le Mach. De Vilard.

Europe Italy
  • Publication date: 1733.
  • Physical description: Manuscript plan original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on linen, key to plan upper right and lower left.
  • Dimensions: 200 by 300mm (7.75 by 11.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 2735

Notes

Plan of the attack upon Milan Castle by the combined French and Savoy army, on 17th December 1733, during the War of Polish Succession. The besieging amy’s trenches and batteries are labelled as are Milan’s defences.

Starting in October 1733, a combined Franco-Sardinian army, numbering over 40,000 and led by Charles Emmanuel, rapidly took control of Milanese territory without significant opposition from the roughly 12,000 Austrian troops defending the duchy. After the conquest of Tortona in February 1734, the fighting season slowed and the army camped for the winter.

The army was joined in November 1733 by the 81-year-old French Marshal de Villars. He and Charles Emmanuel disagreed on strategy, as the latter, distrustful of the French, wanted to secure Milan for himself, while Villars wanted to secure the southern ends of the passes through the Alps to prevent Austrian reinforcements from reaching Italy. Charles Emmanuel’s tactics including deliberately delaying military movements that were unfavorable to his aims. Frustrated by these tactics, Villars asked to be recalled in May 1734. En route to France, he fell ill, and died in Turin in June. The French troops in the army were then placed under the command of generals de Broglie and Coigny, who were made Marshal.

Late in June 1734, Charles Emmanuel returned to Turin, because his wife Polyxena of Hesse-Rotenburg was sick. He asked the French marshals to avoid engaging in offensive actions until he returned, although this was likely another delaying tactic on his part.

Scale: (appox.) 10cm to 1km. 

Provenance

From the Library of the Dukes of Luynes.

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.