HAAS, Johann Heinrich - FELSING, Johann Conrad (1766-1819). Karte von Hessen-Darmstadt. Frankfurt: Heinrich Ludwig Broenner, 1790
EXCEPTIONALLY FINE folding engraved map in 15 sheets (each sheet 20 4/8 x 25 inches), each laid down on linen in 12 sections, centred on Darmstadt and showing in great detail the landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt, and the route of the Rhine and its tributaries from Frankfurt in the north to Frankenthal in the south, but extending to cover Hanau, Reinheim and Manheim to the east. Preserved in contemporary tree calf solander boxes, with red and black morocco lettering-pieces on the spine.
Provenance: with the supra libros on the case of Ernest Augustus (1771–1851), king of Hanover, fifth son of George III and Queen Charlotte, as Duke of Cumberland, his sale Sotheby's 16th December 2010, lot 50
The map which includes Darmstadt has the title "I. Bogen der angekündigten Situations-Charte, aufgenommen und gezeichnet durch Maaß, Artillerie-Lieutenant zu Darmstadt" along the top margin.
Hesse-Darmstadt was originally only the small territory of Upper Katzenelnbogen with Darmstadt, being situated in what is now the extreme southern portion of the present-day Land (state) of Hessen. "But the landgraviate received significant accretions of territory during the 17th and 18th centuries, partly owing to its steadfast loyalty to the Habsburg Holy Roman emperors. Hesse-Darmstadt entered Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine in 1806 and was consequently raised to the status of a grand duchy in that year. Hesse-Darmstadt joined the allies in 1813 and entered the German Confederation in 1815. The Congress of Vienna ceded some of Hesse-Darmstadt’s lands to Prussia and Bavaria but in compensation gave the duchy, among other territories, a district on the west bank of the Rhine containing the important cities of Mainz and Worms. The grand duke Louis I (reigned 1768–1830) granted Hesse-Darmstadt a constitution in 1820, carried through other reforms, and made the grand duchy the first of the southern German states to join the Prussian Zollverein (Customs Union). Hesse-Darmstadt thereafter oscillated between liberalism and conservatism. The duchy sided with the Austrians in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866) and consequently lost its territory north of the Main River to the Prussian-sponsored North German Confederation. But when the German empire was founded in 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt became one of its constituent states" (Encyclopedia Britannica online).
Created duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and earl of Armagh, in April 1799, Prince Ernest—"slim, tall, and handsome in his youth—wished to follow a military career and in June 1790 sought permission to train with the Prussian army. But George III insisted he should serve with the 9th Hanoverian hussars (which he entered as lieutenant in 1790 and of which he became lieutenant-colonel in 1793), later transferring him to the less dashing heavy dragoons, a move the prince bitterly resented. He was promoted major-general in the Hanoverian army in February 1794. He fought with courage in Flanders and the Netherlands against the French. When commanding the Hanoverian light battalion of grenadiers at Villers-en-Cauchi on 6 August 1793 he ‘behaved remarkably well, with the greatest coolness and spirit’ (The Later Correspondence of George III, ed. A. Aspinall, 5 vols., 1962–70, 2.72) and apparently carried off bodily a French dragoon officer as prisoner; a similar event has been ascribed to Ernest outside Nijmegen in November 1794" (DNB).
Never very popular in England, and often surrounded by the whiff of scandal, including accusations of murder and incest, from 1818 to 1828 the Cumberlands lived in voluntary exile, mostly in Berlin. As Victoria's eldest surviving uncle the duke was certain of accession in Hanover, becoming King in June of 1837.