Rare Philip J. de Loutherbourg “Battle of Bosworth Field” Engraving
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle in the Wars of the Roses, a civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by Lancastrian Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who by his victory and subsequent marriage to a Yorkist princess became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent Richard III, the last King of England from the House of York, was killed during the battle. Historians consider the battle to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it one of the defining moments of English history. Literature, from the 15th to 18th centuries, glamorized the conflict as a victory of good over evil—the battle forms the finale of William Shakespeare’s play about Richard’s rise and fall.
Richard’s reign over England began in 1483 when he seized the throne from his twelve-year-old nephew Edward V. The boy and his younger brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, soon disappeared, and the people of southern and western England suspected Richard III had murdered his nephews. In the north, support for Richard was eroded by rumours of his involvement in the death of his wife, Anne Neville. Across the English Channel, Henry, a descendant of the greatly diminished House of Lancaster, used his tenuous link to English royalty to lay claim on the throne. Several hundred Englishmen left their country to join Henry in exile, and revive the fortunes of the House of Lancaster. Henry’s first invasion of England (1484) floundered in a storm, and he launched his next attempt on 1 August 1485. Landing unopposed on the southwest shores of Wales, his army marched inland, growing in strength as it gathered followers. Richard hurriedly gathered troops and intercepted Henry’s army near Ambion Hill, south of the town of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Lord Stanley and Sir William Stanley were at the battlefield, considering which side would be more advantageous to them to support.
Richard’s forces outnumbered Henry’s, however Richard divided his army into three groups, each smaller than Henry’s total force. Henry concentrated most of his army into one group and handed its command to the experienced John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford. Richard’s vanguard struggled against Oxford’s group, and on seeing the inaction of his other group’s commander, Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, the Yorkist king decided to risk a charge across the battlefield to kill Henry and end the fight. But the Stanleys intervened and Sir William led his men to Henry’s aid, surrounding and killing Richard. After the battle, Henry was crowned king on Crown Hill.
Henry hired chroniclers to portray his reign in a good light; the Battle of Bosworth Field was popularized to represent his Tudor dynasty as the start of a new age, marking the end of the Middle Ages for England. Plays, stories, and schoolbook texts were based on the Tudor historians’ version of events.
Philip James de Loutherbourg, also seen as Philippe-Jacques and Philipp Jakob and with the appellation the Younger (October 31, 1740 — March 11, 1812) was an English artist of French origin.
He was born in Strasbourg, where his father, the representative of a Polish family, practiced miniature painting; but he spent the greater part of his life in London, where he was naturalized, and exerted a considerable influence on the scenery of the English stage, as well as on the artists of the following generation. De Loutherbourg was intended for the Lutheran ministry, and was educated at the University of Strasbourg.
As the calling, however, was foreign to his nature, he insisted on being a painter, and placed himself under Charles-André van Loo in Paris. The result was an immediate and precocious development of his powers, and he became a figure in the fashionable society of that day. In 1767 he was elected into the French Academy below the age required by the law of the institution, and painted landscapes, sea storms, battles, all of which had a celebrity above those of the specialists then working in Paris.
Rare Philip James de Loutherbourg “Battle of Bosworth Field” Engraving. Engraved and published in E Boyer Historical Gallery, London 1802. This is with good margins and over all good condition with a few creases and minute foxing spots in the outer margins. The engraving is a slight larger than the scanner could scan and has text on the bottom as seen in the second image.
Work measure 9.50 by 12 inches plus margins.
Art (paintings, prints, frames)