DAHLBERG, Erik Jonsson, Count (1625-1703). Suecia Antiqua et Moderna - Hodierna. [Stockholm: 1692-1713 and later].

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DAHLBERG, Erik Jonsson, Count (1625-1703). Suecia Antiqua et Moderna - Hodierna. [Stockholm: 1692-1713 and later].


3 vols. in one, oblong folio (14 2/8 x 18 2/8 inches). 3 engraved volume title-pages (that to volume one torn and repaired), two portraits of King Charles XI of Sweden, a portrait of Dahlberg, and 349 etched and engraved plates (making 354, the list of plates at end calling for 352, but numbers "46" in volume II and "38" in volume III each consisting of two separate plates, the numbering of the plates corresponds to the numeration in the 13-page letterpress index at end), of which 3 are double-page and 10 are folding, several others are printed on two joined sheets, of maps, plans, and views by various engravers including J. van den Aveele, Willem Swidde, Jean Marot, Jean Le Pautre, A. Perelle, J. J. von Sandrart, and E. Reitz, most after Count Dahlberg's drawings (about 158 of the plates, mostly in volumes II and III, have been cut around the platemark and mounted, indicating probable later issue, browning to a few plates in volume III, some of the multiple sheet plates from two separate states or printings, some of these with one section cut down and mounted and the other with its integral margins). 18th-century Swedish mottled calf over thick paste-board, spine compartments gold tooled with drawer-handle and coquillage tools, red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment, edges paste-patterned blue and red, marbled paste-downs (extremities quite rubbed, some scrapes to sides, upper inner hinge cracked).

Provenance: with the 18th-century ownership inscription of "L. B. Sottie"  on the front free endpaper; with Christie's, New York, 10th December, 1999, lot 155

In 1661 Count Dahlberg, Governor of Livonia and Chancellor of the University of Tartu (Estonia), obtained a commission from the Swedish goverment to compile a visual archive of the country's architectural treasures. A team of 18 engravers was hired to transfer his drawings to copperplate (a few of the drawings were by David Klocker-Ehrenstrahl and Elias Brenner). Per Lagerlf wrote a Latin text, but it was only partially printed and never published (it appears in a few copies). It took 21 years to complete the printing of the plates, and the sheets continued to be published throughout the 18th and into the 19th century. During the years in storage many sheets suffered damage to the margins; later issues are thus often characterized by renewed margins. A small number of copies were issued in 1772, with a new title-page bearing that date. The present copy is a mixed set, with fewer than half of the plates remargined. Some of the plates are on mid-18th-century paper, and some plates in volume III may be even later. We have traced no other examples of the variant volume I title-page, with "moderna" replacing "hodierna"; it is probably a later issue (the title-page is mounted).

Dahlberg was a renowned soldier and engineer from Stockholm. "His early studies took the direction of the science of fortification, and as an engineer officer he saw service in the latter years of the Thirty Years’ War, and in Poland. As adjutant-general and engineer adviser to Charles X. (Gustavus), he had a great share in the famous crossing of the frozen Belts, and at the sieges of Copenhagen and Kronborg he directed the engineers. In spite of these distinguished services, Dahlberg remained an obscure lieutenant-colonel for many years. His patriotism, however, proved superior to the tempting offers Charles II. of England made to induce him to enter the British service, though, in that age of professional soldiering, there was nothing in the offer that a man of honour could not accept. At last his talents were recognized, and in 1676 he became director-general of fortifications. In the wars of the next twenty-five years Dahlberg again rendered distinguished service, alike in attack (as at Helsingborg in 1677, and Dünamünde in 1700) and defence (as in the two sieges of Riga in 1700): and his work in repairing the fortresses of his own country, not less important, earned for him the title of the “Vauban of Sweden.” He was also the founder of the Swedish engineer corps. He retired as field-marshal in 1702, and died the following year" (Encyclopedia Britannica).

In addition to his Suecia Antiqua et Moderna / Hodierna (Stockholm, 1660–1716; 2nd edition, 1856; 3rd edition, 1864–1865), Dahlberg assisted Pufendorf in his Histoire de Charles X Gustave. He wrote a memoir of his life (to be found in Svenska Bibliotek, 1757) and an account of the campaigns of Charles X. (ed. Lundblad, Stockholm, 1823). Berlin Katalog 2256; Brunet V, 578. Catalogued by Kate Hunter