In addition to the old books and ledgers of accounts in Monsieur Monquisard’s bookshop on Hertogstraat in Ghent, close by the north bank of the River Leie, there is a dark leather portmanteau in one of the locked cabinets at the rear of the shop. Within the case is a collection of foxed and aged letters, plans, maps and papers, bound together with a faded blue ribbon.
It is a singular collection of papers, some damaged, others worn and fragile and nearly all written in a near-illegible archaic Spanish, Flemish and German script. The portmanteau (and its contents) has been unsold for several years, but can be inspected today, along with other more familiar works in the bookshop such as the "History of The City of Laarden” (in Flemish) and the full five volume history of the 1688 Spanish expedition to Laarden (in Old Catalan).
If you were interested in opening the portmanteau, untying the ribbon surrounding the papers, and wanted to read the letters (after brushing the dust and cobwebs from them), you might conclude that they have some curiosity value. You might well be able to negotiate a good price for the collection, although Monsieur Monquisard drives a hard bargain, and in my experience would be most reluctant to merely sell individual letters.
It would take some time to work through the papers and letters in order but, if you did so, your eye might be drawn to the following letter dated the 28th February 1689.
Letters from the Marquess de Girona, Envoy of His Most Catholic Majesty, Carlos the Second, King of Spain, to the Flemish Free City of Laarden in 1688 are, I admit, somewhat of an eclectic item.
However, considering the history of the Spanish expedition to Laarden, and the previously little-known history of the Laarden contingent on the field of Breitenfeld in 1632, such correspondence might well have some value in the hands of a discerning collector.
I painted these diminutive 2mm brigades in this winter's Analogue Hobbies Challenge, as my "Curtgeld". Only one of the brigades was finished by March, 20th (the closing date of the Challenge). I finished the second brigade a few weeks ago, and added some standards.
I now understand from their new owner, Mr Curt Campbell of Regina, Canada, that they have safely made the journey to Saskatchewan, together with the original letter (which Monsieur Monquisard was clearly persuaded to sell). Curt will, no doubt, be adding some of his splendid autumnal themed basing to the dusty German soil on which the brigades have formed, ready to receive the Lion of the North.
More 2mm stuff to come, and with a Spanish theme, as regards figures and terrain. (Apologies for not having finished what I'm working on in time for this week's blog post).