Lot 117
  • 117

Croy, Charles III, Duc de

12,000 - 15,000 GBP
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  • Croy, Charles III, Duc de
  • Early seventeenth-century French manuscript, made for Charles, Duc de Croy, containing five coloured views and maps, signed and annotated by the Duke ("DeCroy") and dated by him 30 April 1606
  • paper
containing a comprehensive inventory of Sivry and the hamlet of Saultaing (ie Sautin) in the Low Countries, each signed at the end by Charles's secretary François Liesnart and by the local mayor and magistrates, and dated 3 & 4 April 1608, with the incipit-title: "Besoingné faict au villaige de Sivry en virtù de l' instruction quil a pleu a hault Illme et excellme Prince Monseigneur le Duc de Croy et D'Arschot par la grace de Dieu Prince du Sainct Empire de Chimay et de Portien Marquis de Montcornet Comte de Beaumont &c a donner a son tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur Franchois Liesnart, Touchant les droicts hauteurs et aucthorites que son Exceet audict Villaige de Sivry";  the manuscript, written in a single secretarial hand, records land ownerships, businesses, vinyards, censuses (including that of 14 February 1590), roads, fiefs, the parish church, chapels and pastor, rents, the town hall, labourers and other matters in Sivry and Sautin

260 pages (130 numbered leaves, 5 maps and 3 blanks), folio (c.32.8 x 20.5cm), on paper, (ff.111-112 & 127-130 blank), the foliation of the maps (111 & 112) deleted and revised, untrimmed, contemporary vellum, manuscript titles to covers, 1606-1608, worn, minor loss to the view and some maps, well thumbed in places, ties defective

the four maps and the view of Sivry executed in ink and watercolour:  
1) watercolour view of "Le village de Sivry", within a frame with decorative cartouches, signed and inscribed by the Duke at the top: "Villaige de Sivry En Prospective Va R le 30 D'avril 1606 a Beaumont, DeCroy", showing a view of the village, and fields surrounding, with a key to the dwellings on verso, dated 14 April 1606, creased and torn along folds with some paper-loss  
2) double-page map of "Le village de Sivry", inscribed by the Duke at the top and on the verso: "Villaige de Sivry En Prospective Va R le 30 D'avril 1606 a Beaumont, DeCroy", with a comprehensive numbered key to the dwellings etc, listed on the verso, slight wear at folds
3) map of the Hamlet of Sautin, titled "Hameau de Saultaing", showing roads ("chemin de Mombliart" & "chemin de Sivry") and inscribed by the Duke "dependant du Villaige de Syvrey Va Ra le 30 D'avril 1606 a Beaumont, DeCroy", worn at folds with some paper loss, detached
4) plan of "Le village de Sivry", showing roads ("Chemin de Sivry à Beauville"), inscribed and signed by the Duke "Va Ra le 30 D'avril 1606, DeCroy", worn at folds with some paper loss, detached
5) double-page map of "La Haye de Sivry", showing the woodland or hedgerows bordering Sivry, inscribed by the Duke at the top and on the verso: "Haye de Sivrey Va R le 30 D'avril 1606, DeCroy", slight wear at folds

The volume was compiled for Charles, duc de Croy et d'Arschot, Prince de Chimay & Count of Beaumont (1560-1612), in the province of Hainault, and signed by his secretary François Liesnart. The present manuscript is one of a series of surveys that the Duke had made of his domains, starting in 1597, and which he annotated and kept at his château at Beaumont. Sivry-Rance is now a Walloon municipality near the French border.

Louis-Prosper Gachard's Report to the Ministry of the Interior in Brussels about the Croy archives in 1842, which were still at the château at Beaumont (then owned by the duc de Caraman), describes this volume. It was one of a number of similar manuscripts prepared by François Liesnart, each beginning with figurative plans, and inscribed by the duc de Croy himself in the same manner as here (see Gachard's numbers 173-182, pp.143-146). The maps and the view of Sivry always formed part of the manuscript, although they have been inserted and folded to fit. The view and the first map were originally paginated 111 & 112, and space was evidently left for them on two blanks in the text. The folded maps and views are also copiously annotated on the back. 

Charles is best known for the magnificent series of Albums de Croy that he commissioned, containing maps and views of all the villages and property in his domains. Charles had no children and the albums were dispersed at a public sale in Brussels on 19 August 1614; volumes and fragments are now found all over the globe. For one such album, see the sale in our rooms on 19 June 2001, Lot 47; for another on vellum, see our sale on 13 July 1977, Lot 94. However, we have not traced any auction record for an illustrated inventory such as this manuscript. Although the watercolours and maps here are more modest than the famous albums, the style is similar and the artist probably the same. The volume comes to the present owner by direct descent from the Caraman-Chimay family, related to that of Croy and Croy-Chimay.


Louis-Prosper Gachard, Rapport a monsieur le ministre de l'interieur et des affaires étrangères sur les archives générales du royaume (Brussels: 1838 [-c.1842]), no.174


Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.