DUTCH SCHOOL, EARLY 18TH CENTURY
An extensive view of the Port of Dunkirk
oil on canvas
27 x 491⁄2 in. (68.6 x 125.6 cm.)
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
The Dukes of Manchester, Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire, and by descent to,
Alexander Drogo Montagu, 10th Duke of Manchester (1902-1977), and by inheritance to the present owner.
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The Marquis de Vauban (1633-1707), Louis XIV’s great military engineer, known as the ‘father of the fortress’, transformed the harbour of Dunkirk into a stronghold in the second half of the seventeenth century. This picture shows Dunkirk after Vauban’s sea forts and landward fortifications were completed in the 1680s and after Fort Blanc, seen in the left foreground, was constructed in 1701. In 1713, under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, the fortifications and port facilities of Dunkirk had to be completely demolished, giving us a terminus ante quem for the present lot.
This topographical view accords closely to an engraving of Dunkirk by Claude Duflos (1665-1727), dated to circa 1700-10 (National Library of France, Paris, inv. no. GE C-4661), which shows a more elevated view of the harbour but also has as its focus Dunkirk’s new double jetties and Vauban’s celebrated sea fortifications.