Scenes of war in 1859 found by chance in old sketchbook

Posted on 03/10/2019 in Press Coverage

Dramatic 160-year-old sketches capturing scenes during the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 have been found.

The drawings, which provide an eye-witness account of events, were uncovered by chance by Jim Spencer, works on paper specialist at Hansons Auctioneers.

He said: “A client posted three old sketchbooks for my attention. Amazingly, one of them was dated June 1859 and recorded events during the Second Italian War of Independence.

“It shows people fighting, ruined buildings, wounded soldiers, piles of bodies, civilians, children playing, people running through streets waving flags and soldiers resting at camp. It’s an incredible primary resource for historians.

“I’m expecting it to do well when it goes under the hammer because it’s such a rare and important archive. I’ve set a guide price of £500-£800 but I wouldn't be surprised if this estimate were smashed in a bidding battle."

The Second Italian War of Independence, also called the Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War or Italian War of 1859, was fought by the French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859. It played a crucial part in the process of Italian unification.

The sketchbook will be sold by Hansons Auctioneers on October 10 in their Fine Art Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffs, ST17 0XN. To find out more, email [email protected].

Catalogue due to go live on October 3. Click here to access Hansons auction catalogues.