- Museum number
- Object: Victoire remportée par le Roy Guillaume III sur les Irlandoise ala Rivière de Boyne en Irlande le 1 Juillet 1690
Spreading landscape with a complete view of the Battle of the Boyne; in the foreground cannon and at the left William III with his officers on horseback. 1691
Etching on two plates, printed on two joined sheets
- Production date
Height: 538 millimetres (overall)
Width: 1031 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.212)
The battle of the river Boyne on 1 July 1690 was little more than a heavy skirmish, but it had a decisive result in that James fled back to France. Over the following twelve months the rest of Ireland was subjugated by the Orange army. William himself was at the scene, and was accompanied by his official battle painter, Dirck Maas from Haarlem. Maas must have made notes at the battle, which he then worked up into a large drawing (223 x 663mm; C.White & C.Crawley, 'The Dutch and Flemish Drawings at Windsor Castle', Cambridge 1994, no.389). From this Maas developed at least two paintings, one now in the Portland collection, the other at Petworth, as well as this etching, of which the publication was announced in the London Gazette for 7 May 1691: 'There is now engraven and published a true draught of the fight at the Boyne, by Theodore Maas, who was present at the battel. Sold at Mr Cooper's in Bedford-Street, Covent Garden and at most print-sellers.'
It is remarkable that the title is only given in French, although the smaller keyed description underneath is in both French and English. This is because the print is unambiguously modelled on the huge engravings that Louis XIV had had made to impress his victories on the consciousness of Europe. Louis set the tone, and other princes had to follow. From 1664 Louis summoned Adam Frans van der Meulen from Antwerp primarily to design tapestries of these battles for manufacture in the Gobelins, though he also made paintings of them. He was joined in 1667 by a friend of Maas from Haarlem, Jan van Huchtenberg, whom van der Meulen employed to etch the first of the two or three-plate battle-scenes for which he was granted a privilege from Louis in 1669.
William followed Louis's example by ordering a set of tapestries of the 'Art of War' from Lambert de Hondt in Brussels in 1696. There is documentary evidence that he also commissioned tapestries of his own victories at Bresgate, Torbay and the Boyne, but these sets, if made, do not survive. This etching was published less than a year after the battle, possibly with William's support. It is the only print of this type that ever appeared in England, and the same publisher Edward Cooper was behind the two etchings after Verrio that are equally French in feeling and exceptional in British print production. In the first decades of the following century Eugene of Savoy employed Jan van Huchtenberg to paint and etch a large number of scenes of his victories, and his ally the Duke of Marlborough commissioned a set of tapestries of his victories from Lambert de Hondt in Brussels from 1712 onwards (see A.Wace, 'The Marlborough Tapestries', 1968).
Maas was an accomplished printmaker, and had made a number of smaller plates of horses and figures both in etching and mezzotint while in the Netherlands. All show the then fashionable light tonality that has been called the 'international classicizing style' by Clifford Ackley ('Printmaking in the age of Rembrandt', Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1981, no.200). The only other plate Maas made in England is a small study of William and his officers at the Boyne (Hollstein 14), now known only in a single impression in Amsterdam.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000 Jan-Mar, Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 May-Jul, Bristol, City Mus and AG, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 Oct-Dec, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000/1 Dec-Feb, Banff, Duff House, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2001 Feb-May, Cardiff, National Mus, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2020 4 Feb-19 Apr, London, Tate Britain, British Baroque: Power and Illusion
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Battle of the Boyne 1690
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For the history of the acquisition of the Sheepshanks collection, please see Sheepshanks.1
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: S.6411