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A Monument of Polish Cartography
Vital to the Reconstruction of Warsaw after the Second World War
TIRREGAILLE, PIERRE RICAUD DE/ MARSTALSKI (MARSTALLERA, G. J.) [Warsaw, 1762]
Plan de la Ville de Varsovie. . . .
39 ½ x 53 inches
Four sheets, each approximately 19 ¾ x 26 inches; total image size if joined, 39 ½ x 53 inches. Trimmed close to inner margins preparatory to joining, some fraying to outer margins, few areas of staining, else excellent.
Very rare: two copies in the British Library, and one each in the National Library of Poland, the Bibliotheque Nationale, and Harvard. No examples seen in catalogues in over thirty years.
An invaluable document in the history of Warsaw in two essential ways. First, it captured the moment of the city’s ascendance as a major European capitol. And as a record of the physical plan and visual character of the city, it served architects and planners in the rebuilding the old city following its destruction in the Second World War.
This magnificently engraved and detailed work was an official plan, produced to showcase the transformation of Warsaw from a town of muddy, crowded streets to a paved, planned city befitting a European capital. It was executed by the order of Franciszek Bieliński, Grand Marshal of the Crown under King Augustus III of Poland. Between 1740 and the drafting of this plan in 1762, the Commission paved 222 streets in Warsaw - almost the entire city. The Commission also created market squares, reduced wetlands, and removed fire-prone industries from the city limits. Tiregale’s plan captured the fruits of the Commission’s labor following its most productive period.
The plan was surveyed and drafted by the French architect and surveyor, Pierre Ricaud de Tiregale. Arriving in Poland in 1752, he served as an engineer with the Polish army. By 1762 he had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and was Engineer to the King. His manuscript original of the plan survived in the Archives of the City of Warsaw until its destruction in 1944. The four copperplates of the map were executed by Gottlieb Jacob Marstallera, an engraver of unknown nationality who worked under the patronage of Grand Marshal Bieliński between 1753 and 1786.
All 18 buildings depicted on the plan, which survived into the 20th century, were deliberately destroyed by the Nazis when they razed the city in 1944. Some, notably the Brühl Palace, one of Warsaw’s largest and most beautiful structures, no longer exist. Many, however, were rebuilt, using surviving artwork, photographs and architectural drawings in order to reconstruct their facades. As mentioned, Tiregale’s plan, with its meticulously engraved architectural views, was a key source in this effort. The plan names in Polish and French 82 separate buildings, including the Royal Palace, the Archcathedral of St. John, and the Załuski Library (the first and largest public library in Poland). It is accompanied by a panorama of the city as viewed from across the Vistula River.
H. Widacka, “Znane i nieznane sztychy G. J. Marstallera”, The National Library Yearbook XXXIII XXXIV 240-241; M. Wallis, Canaletto, The Painter Of Warsaw; Not in Malinowski Collection.