Marrion’s Men: Sussex Imperial Yeomanry

Another figure related to the late artist Robert Marrion has been on my painting table. Following on from the 54mm Sharpshooter that I posted on recently, I’ve been painting another chap modelled on an illustration by R.J. Marrion. It can be found on the front of Book One of the “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914” series. The illustration depicts a sergeant of the Sussex Imperial Yeomanry in Service Dress c.1905.

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As with the Sharpshooter, it is a figure wearing khaki, Stohwasser gaiters and a slouch hat. This form of Yeomanry dress was increasingly common at this time in the wake of the harsh lessons learnt out on the veldt during the Anglo-Boer War. He is a sergeant (with the stripes to prove it) and carries a riding crop casually in his left hand. Other distinctions include metal shoulder chains and a leather bandolier within which the sculptor has even faithfully reproduced the three bullets seen in the drawing!

Sussex Yeomanry (1)

Barlow and Smith’s book describes the uniform in the following manner:

“…Service Dress consisted of the slouch hat… A khaki serge frock with blue collar wearing brass badges, blue shoulder straps and a trefoil in blue on the cuffs, four patch pockets with small brass buttons on the breast pockets, and five brass buttons down the front. A light shade Bedford cord breeches with blue piping, brown Stohwasser gaiters and ankle boots; a web bandolier.”

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The slouch hat had a leather band for a pagri and a “small, bright blue emu feather plume”. The blue shoulder straps described above were replaced by ‘shoulder chains with blue backing’ for Service Dress in 1905, which helps to confirm the date of this figure.

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The Sussex Yeomanry had their genesis back in 1793 when Revolutionary France declared war on Great Britain. The regiment then came in and out of existence in various guises over the 19th century until finally disbanded in 1875.

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The crisis of the Anglo-Boer War led to the British army recognising an urgent need for the kind of rapid mobility that mounted forces could provide. This resulted in the hurried creation of the Imperial Yeomanry in early 1900, capable of serving overseas. The Sussex Imperial Yeomanry was one of the yeomanry regiments formed as part of this emergency response.

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“Yeomanry Scouts on the Veldt” by Lady Butler. Imperial Yeomanry of the Boer War bearing close similarity to my Sussex Yeoman.

You will notice that my Yeoman is missing his riding crop, held in his left hand. Being a delicate item, I’ve decided to fix this on only when I’m able to place him on to a proper base. This may take a few weeks before I source an appropriate one.

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I’m reasonably satisfied with my painting for this figure although it took a few attempts until I was happy with the colour of his ‘light-coloured’ Bedford cord riding breeches. My sergeant is wearing leather wrist gloves which are a tad lighter in shade than I’d prefer but otherwise look okay. The Stohwasser leather gaiters are a blend of Vallejo’s Cavalry Brown and Red Leather paints with a black wash.

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I’m still feeling my way a little with what is still only my 54mm scale figure. I’m happy to retain my painting ‘style’ even for this scale. It may not be the most effective way of presenting them, but the figure retains that certain ‘Suburban Militarism’ identity as a result.

Sussex Yeomanry (2)

There’s another Robert Marrion inspired figure still awaiting paint to make it a trio of ‘Marrion’s Men’. I’ll be still on the look out for any others, of which I’m convinced there must be a number more somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve got other 54mm scale Yeomanry figures awaiting attention for whenever I next get the urge.

5 thoughts on “Marrion’s Men: Sussex Imperial Yeomanry

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