The capture of the town of Hulst

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The capture of the town of Hulst
This is the seventh tapestry, and the last one, in the series, and the third devoted to the victory of Archduke Albert’s troops at Hulst. This piece – the largest of the three depicting the battle for the stronghold – shows the final capture of Hulst, an event which took place on 19th August 1596 after a one-month siege.

A city taken with fire and iron

The upper part of the tapestry depicts the invasion: we see the city with its buildings and mills, surrounded by a wall which is being penetrated and destroyed by Archduke Albert’s troops. The troops are exploding a tower and a gate in the wall. In the lower right-hand part of the tapestry, we see the harquebusiers, one of them dead, and the cannons.

The governor of the Low Countries

As in other tapestries in the series, Archduke Albert appears accompanied by Don Luis de Velasco, Count of Salazar, who is showing and explaining the development of the battle to the Archduke. The Archduke is surrounded by what seems to be a group of nobles who could well be part of his general staff.

The border

In the border, Medusa and the same motifs related to military victories are repeated: weapons, armour, palm branches of victory and laurel wreaths. Three emblems are also included, which vary between each piece in the series, and a banner with a weaved Latin inscription telling us about the scene being depicted.


As in the rest of the series, the upper banner tells us about the scene being depicted: HVLSTANI ADITV AVXILIIS/ NON PRAECLVSO, FACTA/ DEDITIONE MILITES BIS MILLE/ INCOLVMES EDVCVNT [The people of Hulst, keeping access open to the auxiliary troops, and surrendering, let two thousand soldiers leave safe and sound].

As in the previous tapestry, the sixth in the series, the emblem in the lower border is devoted to symbols of victory. However, instead of three intertwined crowns, here we see three trophies, each decorated differently with the booty from land and naval battles. The inscription reads SIC PLVRA SVPERSVNT [Thus there are many more].

The emblem in the left-hand side border features the goddess Nemesis, adorned with snakes and a whip, pursuing a group of soldiers. Nemesis was a goddess of retributive justice and was charged with punishing excess, wayward children and rebels. The emblem thus alludes to justice having attacked the stronghold of Hulst, to punish the Dutch rebels who had disobeyed their master, King Philip II of Spain. The inscription reads PANICO TERRORE [With fear comes panic].

The right-hand side border contains an emblem which also appears in the fifth tapestry of the series, which is also devoted to the attack on Hulst. It is the only emblem which is repeated in the series, and depicts Religion, with cross in hand, directing the soldiers towards battle. The inscription reads AVDENTIOR IBO HAC DVCE [With [Religion] as guide I go with no fear].

Series Triumphs and battles of Archduke Albert

Seventh tapestry in the series

Model Otto van Veen and Hans I Snellinck

Manufacture Martin Reynbouts, Brussels, 1597-1599

Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool

Size 357 x 429 cm

Location Royal Palace of El Pardo

Origin Collection of Philip IV

On display Office of Francisco Franco

National Heritage Inv. n. 10072270


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