MILITARY COMMISSION FROM THE CAMP AT VILLERS-BRÛLIN, 1710, SIGNED BY THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
MARLBOROUGH, Duke of. Autograph document signed. Villers-Brûlin, France, July 15, 1710. Document measures 10 by 15 inches. WITH: Steel-engraved portrait. $2200.
Military commission, signed at the camp at Villers-Brûlin by the Duke of Marlborough as Captain General of Her Majesty’s Land Forces, with original red wax seal.
This manuscript document promotes Edmund Naish to the position of ensign under Brigadier Godfrey. In 1710, the War of the Spanish Succession had been underway for nearly a decade, as William III sought to cripple the growing influence of Louis XIV by placing the archduke Charles on the Spanish throne. For many of those years, Marlborough had been a central figure on the field of battle, leading Britain in a heated struggle for European dominance. However, in 1710, with the rise of a staunchly anti-Marlborough party in England, Marlborough found his sway over Queen Mary and King William diminishing, despite his impressive victory over the French at Douay. Attempting to shore up support within his own ranks, Marlborough began rapidly promoting officers. This commission, signed in mid-summer on the field at Villers-Brûlin, was likely a part of that scheme. The engraved portrait accompanying the commission is from a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, a student of Rembrandt’s who became “the dominant court and society painter by the beginning of the reign of James II…[and] the Principal painter jointly with Riley on the accession of William III and Mary II” (Oxford Dictionary of Art, 270).
Chipping to wax seal, two small tipped-on labels, slight age toning, and creases from folding, as usual. A lovely autograph document signed with accompanying portrait, in extremely good condition.