Stansell’s Bandsmen #1: The Trombone

Not quite demilitarised in the manner of Man of Tin’s recent posts in response to the appalling events in Ukraine but perhaps at least more benign, I’m sharing the first of a series of images of British army bandsmen as illustrated by Frederick Stansell c.1900 in the book “Bands of the British Army” by W.J. Gordon.

No.1: Trombone – The East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)

“The resonant, manly tone of a brass band is due to its cupped mouthpieces. The most effective of the instruments in which they are used is the trombone, which is the big trump, just as the trumpet is the little trump, and it has a great advantage over the rest in its notes being all the same quality owing to its having no keys to increase its convolutions.

The complete scale is obtainable by the position of the slide; and as the violin gives every gradation of sound by stopping the string, so the trombone acts by stopping the slide which has to be as accurately done, both instruments requiring the player to have a correct ear and an unhesitating touch. Being difficult to play well, it has been fitted with valves; but a valve trombone is never so good as a slider.”

W.J. Gordon

Girl Soldier: The Grenadears

What I believe to be the final card in the 120+ years old Girl Soldier postcard series finally came up for auction recently and to my delight I was the only bidder! I’d be keeping an eye out for it for a few years so there is some satisfaction to complete the set of six in total.

The final postcard I’ve been searching for represents a soldier of The Grenadier Guards, which artist Ellam puckishly calls The Grenadears.

It’s an obvious choice of regiment, Ellam’s other Soldier Girls were from either particularly famous regiments or regiments of the elite Household Division. They include:

  • The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
  • The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)
  • The Life Guards
  • A Corporal of The Gordon Highlanders
  • The 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Lancers

Once again, this card is a portrayal of a confident young lady, back ramrod straight and looking up with hand on hip. Ellam drops the usual subtle clues as to her gender, these chiefly being her figure, a feminine eye and perhaps a few loose curls of hair under that bearskin.

Ellam’s other Soldier Girls had particularly accurately-depicted uniforms, so is this the case with our Guardswoman too?

Beginning with the rank markings on the arm, I can identify this Girl Soldier as being a Colour Sergeant. I include below a photographic example of these markings which closely matches the illustration by Ellam. It includes the four symbols of the home nations, the royal crown, and even the outline of the crossed sabres at the base can be vaguely discerned. Only the flagpole and tassels are missing. My copy of volume 1 of Simkin’s Soldiers (The British Army in 1890) by Col. PS Walton describes the Colour Sergeant’s markings from this era as “three gold lace chevrons edged blue on a scarlet ground with a colour badge of regimental design superimposed.”

On the collar can be seen a flaming grenade insignia, which is correct for the Grenadier Guards. The collar, cuffs, tunic front and shoulder straps are all correctly edged white but do appear almost black instead of dark blue on the postcard, but we might accord Ellam some printing issues discretion here.

Line drawing of a Sergeant’s tunic. Grenadier Guards.

I initially thought that the insignias on the collar and shoulder straps were supposed to be coloured white but for Sergeants they were indeed gold, so again Ellam is spot on. Certainly the trousers are more clearly a dark blue and they have the red stripe ending in a pair of black boots.

For the Guards regiments, a distinctive feature is the spacing of the buttons representing their place in the order of precedence (the Coldstream Guards had buttons spaced in pairs and the Scots Guards in threes, for example). The Grenadier Guards, as premier regiment, therefore had singly spaced buttons, so again we can see this is reproduced on the postcard for the regiment. Coincidentally, Simkin’s Soldiers has a photograph of a Colour-Sergeant of the Grenadier Guards.

On the bearskin, the Grenadier Guards have a white plume situated on the left hand side. As this lady has her left side facing away from us, we can only assume it’s there, so again there’s no problem there with Ellam’s depiction.

The white leather Slade-Wallace equipment drawn here was replaced by 1908 Pattern webbing. It is understood that this card series was produced approximately 1890-1900, so this equipment reflects that era. Apparently, “full equipment was worn for parades and outside barracks while a single pouch sufficed for guards and ceremonial within” (Walton). The single pouch can be seen in the Colour-Sergeant’s photograph above.

White gloves seem generally to have been worn by ranks of Sergeant and above in Review Order, which Ellam has indeed reproduced here. The wearing of white gloves by a sergeant can be seen with the man on the right in the Simkin plate below.

I’m presuming that the rifle our female Grenadier Guard holds is a .303 Lee-Metford (adopted in 1888) or possibly even its replacement the Lee-Enfield, which came into service around 1895. Here Ellam has the wooden stock ending a little too short from the barrel end for either, but would make it closer to being the Lee-Metford design.

A very reasonable Ellam representation of white leather Slade-Wallace equipment worn by the Grenadier Guards late 19th century.
A highlander’s Slade Wallace equipment as painted by Harry Payne – Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Public Domain.

So, there is once again no doubt as to Ellam’s dedication to regimental uniform accuracy for his cartoon series of female soldiers. This leaves me once again wondering why an apparently patronisingly ‘comic’ postcard was dedicated to such faithful uniform reproduction. Was such accuracy down to Ellam’s own interest in military uniforms or did he deliberately seek out expert advice, perhaps even from one of the great British army uniform artists of the day such as Richard Simkin, Harry Payne or Fred Stansell? I am left with speculation.

I won’t repeat here all the themes and questions I’d raised about Ellam’s depiction of these women as soldiers and why it was that ‘Ellanbee’ (publishers Landeker and Brown of London) chose this as a marketable theme, a theme copied by at least one other postcard manufacturer. Instead, with this final post on Ellanbee’s c.1900 Girl Soldier series, I’ll point anyone interested to my previous posts in this series:

The Discomforts of Moving

Suburban Militarism is back online – at last! In the past few weeks, without any internet, I’ve been rediscovering what I once did in the 1980s for entertainment. Reading, mostly. Board games. Watching free-to-air television. Taking a walk outside and also down memory lane with all the boxes of stuff that I brought with me. And eventually managed to locate my paints and brushes to get painting some figures again. More on that in the next post.

One of the tasks I’ve enjoyed doing is setting up my new “hobby room / office” (note the order of naming importance). I’ve fixed some pictures to the walls already including my Bob Marrion yeomanry prints and a framed cutting from the Illustrated London News (see my post Relics of the Norfolk Light Horse for more on this). This framed newspaper illustration was sparked from an idea by Mark at Man of Tin when he shared a photo showing something similar hanging over his painting bureau. My own piece of Victorian newsprint now which now hangs above my office desk. In this new position, I’ve been able to examine it more frequently and in more detail, which had got me thinking…

The print shows the “Review of the Norfolk Volunteers on Mousehold Heath. Lady Suffield presenting prizes won at the Norfolk Rifle Association Meeting” and enticingly held out the suggestion of their being further information (see next page). Of course, I don’t have the next page, just the engraved illustration itself. So I wondered if it was possible to find out more. Thankfully the internet – acting in the nice, positive and open way which it was originally conceived of to do – provided me with all the information!

Here is the news… Saturday, September 26, 1863.

The very wonderful and free Internet Archive has fully scanned copies of the Illustrated London News, including the specific edition that I required – Saturday, Sept 26th 1863.

The article in question had much to say about the events on Mousehold Heath near Norwich, these being rifle shooting competions which started on the 7th September 1863 and lasted for five days. Much of the article covered in patient detail all the various competitions, the prizes, the marks scored and names of winning competitors. The prestigious championship of Norfolk went to Corporal Wilshak (Great Yarmouth Rifle Volunteer Corps), beating Private Richardson (Fakenham RVC) and the aptly named Corporal Gunn (4th Norwich RVC).

Contemporary prints of the Norfolk Light Horse from W.Y. Carman’s “Light Horse and Mounted Rifle Volunteers”.

To modern eyes, the journalist presents a notably dry account of proceedings, mostly being facts, names and statistics and lacking any colour in describing details of the spectacle, the weather, the personalities and the crowds. The largely factual approach, however, at least has the advantage that the event pictured in my illustration has light thrown upon it by the paper’s fastidious correspondent who very helpfully lists all the units involved in some detail. The prize-giving ceremony he reports taking place on “Tuesday week”, so actually on the 22nd September 1863. The following volunteer corps that were ‘assembled on the occasion’ included:-

  • 1st Norfolk Rifle Volunteers (408 men)
  • 2nd Norfolk ” ” (316)
  • Norwich ” ” (339)
  • Yarmouth Artillery (194)
  • Yarmouth Rifles (221)
  • (Norfolk) Light Horse (35)

The very useful painting below by artist Claude Nursey shows a group of men of the 1st Norwich Rifle Volunteers on the rifle range at Mousehold Heath, presumably the location of the event in question. They are mingling with some other men of the Norfolk Light Horse (wearing red jackets) the remainder of whom can be also just seen mounted in the far distance. The landscape does bear a resemblance to my print.

Nursey, Claude Lorraine Richard Wilson; Officers of the 1st City of Norwich Rifle Volunteers, with Their Captain Henry Staniforth Patteson, on the Rifle Range, Mousehold Heath; Norfolk Museums Service.

There were other armed forces present too:

  • 18th Hussars (3 troops)
  • 14 staff of the West Norfolk Militia
  • ‘The Norwich Cadets’

This amounted to a total of 1800 men under arms in addition to which, as can be seen from my illustration, there must have been a considerable number of interested onlookers. That description suggests that the mounted officer in the foreground (below) judging by his uniform is probably one of the ’14 staff of the West Norfolk Militia’.

Likely to have been present during the proceedings would likely have been the officers of the Norfolk Light Horse, namely; Captain Francis Hay Gurney, Lieutenant Francis Boileau, Cornet Frederick Grimmer, Honorary Vet. Surgeon Smith and Hon, Assistant Surgeon Cooper. The article then goes on to describe the scene very specifically shown in my picture.

“Several manoeuvres were then gone through, after which the Hussars left for Norwich [the location of their barracks] and the volunteers then formed a large square for the purpose of witnessing the presentation of prizes to the successful competitors at the late annual gathering of the Norfolk Volunteers Service Association.

So, my illustration depicts the gathering actually formed in a large square as the following scene played out:

The presentation was made by Lady Suffield, the recipients of the well-merited rewards being also addressed, one by one, in a few encouraging words, by the Earl of Leicester.

The Earl of Leicester, as Lord Lieutenant, would be most likely to be wearing a uniform much like the one below with the cocked hat and blowing white feather plumes, while Lady Suffield is here bestowing an award upon one lucky sharpshooting recipient.

I had previously noted the appearance of a mounted hussar in the drawing (below right). I wonder now, given that the troops of the 18th Hussars had apparently returned to barracks prior to the presentations, whether this might actually show an officer of the Yarmouth Artillery in a Royal Horse Artillery-style uniform? Other mounted volunteers appearing below seem to include another militia officer, a rifle volunteer officer, a senior officer (possibly the said Colonel McMurdo of the Norfolk Corps?) and in the foreground two white-plumed men of the 35-strong Norfolk light Horse.

So, all that helpfully shed a little more light on my treasured scene of events which took place over 150 years ago at the height of the Victorian Rifle Volunteer movement.

The rest of that edition of the Illustrated London News was also an interesting read. Events included tension between Russia and others over Poland’s national struggle for independence; the ongoing ‘War in America’ between the Union and Confederate states and the siege of Charleston; we are informed that “Her Majesty the Queen continues at Balmoral, in good health”. Columns appear with obscure headings abound such as “Echoes of the Week” and “Column for the Curious”; while sporting columns appear to be exclusively about horse racing and fishing. Scientific news included the Admiralty’s investigations into the sun’s distance from the earth,

There were macabre crimes;

The ILN had a particularly intensive interest in the most minute matters of royalty, both home and abroad; “The King of Wirtemberg, who is now in his eighty-second year, has been seriously ill for some days.”

Victorian advertisements within it’s pages are entertaining including such products ranging from “Pistachio Nut Toilet Powder” to parlour game catalogues (dull evenings made merry), and pleasingly there was even something for “The Little Modeller” of the mid-Victorian era too!

And finally – in a nice coincidence – the ILN printed a full page reproduction of an artist’s work (which they discussed in an eccentrically Victorian manner) entitled “Quarter Day! – The Discomforts of Moving” – a chaotic experience which I am personally still living and, I fear, will be for some time!

“The house is given up to a reckless band of nondescript men, who tear up carpets, pull down curtains and level bedsteads.”

Quarter Day, incidentally, is a old English tradition marking the quarters of the year when traditionally rents and notices to quit were due, servants were hired and school terms began, one of which – Lady Day – was just a few days before my own moving day.

A scene not dissimilar to my own moving experience…

For anyone who may be any interested, I’ve reproduced the full ILN article below:

The Girl I Left Behind Me

An interesting metal soldier figure came up on an auction site recently which I immediately recognised as being a recreated scene from a painting. The canvas in question is “The Girl I left Behind Me” by Victorian artist Charles Green (1840–1898).

The Girl I left Behind Me by Charles Green, Creative Commons.

The original canvas is fairly large and hangs in the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester and postcards of this painting are available in the shop. In fact, I remember that I sent one of these very postcards to a hobby friend in Germany.

The painting has many elements of the very narrative and (to some modern eyes at least) somewhat mawkish style of Victorian art. We see troopships awaiting in the distance as loved ones and locals take their leave of the departing regiment. An old fella shakes the hand of one young soldier, while a consoled young lady looks down at her baby in sorrow as if already widowed. The headgear suggests these Napoleonic-era soldiers are off to Belgium for the coming Waterloo campaign, or perhaps for the latter stages of the Peninsular War.

Waterloo shakos waved aloft. Green, Charles; The Girl I Left behind Me; Leicester Arts and Museums Service;

I believe there are some errors with the uniforms; the drummer boys should be in reversed colours to the troops, for example. I like how the artist contrasts these regimented, marching drummer boys with the running of the kids alongside them at play, reminding us that while they are called to battle they are still essentially children.

The colour yellow seems to be a feature of the young women in the crowd, I notice, which puts me in mind of the old song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”. Wikipedia says of the song:

The song/poem “She wore a yellow ribbon” has appeared in various forms for at least four centuries. It is based upon the same general theme: A woman of destiny is under some sort of test or trial as she waits for her beloved to return. Will she be true to him?

All of which seems to be the central theme of the painting. The centrepiece of the painting is the young lady (in yellow dress) clinging to her beloved as he marches off to war. The fortune of their relationship appears to hang in the balance as his death in war, and her fidelity at home, threatens its future.

Get to the point, Marvin!

Oh yes, the figure I saw was a 54mm recreation of this couple in Green’s painting. There are minor differences of course, but the composition and their poses are near identical. It is by El Viejo Dragon Miniatures, a Spanish manufacturer which seems to specialise in ladies wearing rather less clothing than our regency lady here! Curious that a Spanish manufacturer has recreated it.

The auction listing states that this model is of “a soldier in the Inniskilling 27th foot and his sweetheart around 1814 before Waterloo. Hand painted in Ulster by Rainey Miniatures.” 

The paint job is quite nicely done, though overall the shading appears a little ‘grubby’ for my tastes. I would also have wanted to recreate the scene in Green’s painting more closely with the yellow dress and the soldier’s white breeches, etc. Perhaps the painter was unaware of the inspiration behind this scene or, more likely, they wanted to create a more meaningful and local scene for themselves, and so set it in Ulster.

Unfortunately, the price for the figure is a little more than I want to pay, the family ‘war chest’ just won’t take any more model soldier purchases of late!

Wait. There’s an option to ‘Make Offer’? ….I really shouldn’t, or my own ‘girl’ will place her arm around my neck – and not in a fond way either!

The Song:

“The Girl I left Behind Me” is a folk song said by some to date back to the Elizabethan era and is commonly associated through the ages with being played whenever soldiers left for war and set sail. Consequently, the title of the painting was drawing on a tune traditionally associated with the drama it was depicting.

The tune, incidentally, aside from being the title of a painting showing troops heading to Belgium in 1815, can be heard playing in the 1970 film Waterloo at the moment when Wellington orders the whole Allied army forward in victory.

O ne’er shall I forget the night,
The stars were bright above me
And gently lent their silv’ry light
When first she vowed to love me.
But now I’m bound to Brighton camp
Kind heaven then pray guide me
And send me safely back again,
To the girl I left behind me.

Girl Soldier: The Death or Glory Girls

Continuing to keep an eye out for anything relating to the Soldier Girls postcard series, something popped up recently for auction which, though not the same, bared many similarities. It was a postcard with a listing which included the associated words; “Ellam?, Political, Comic Postcard, 1900s, Suffragette, Votes, Women” and was titled “Our Future Army”.

The postcard shares many similarities with the Girl Soldier series. Beautifully illustrated, it features a lady wearing an authentic Full Dress British cavalry uniform from around the year 1900.

The composition is much the same too; a plain (albeit dark) background with a single soldier standing in a relaxed pose. There’s no artist signature on the card however. Although the auction listing queried Ellam’s name as artist, I’m not convinced it’s William H. Ellam’s style, which veered more towards the cartoon.

Right: a female Life Guard by Ellam and Left: a 17th Lancer by an unknown artist

On the back, there are even less clues. No publisher information of any sort, so apparently not an Ellanbee (Landecker and Brown) publication. The only indication is “Series 531”, suggesting even more of these ladies were produced. I wonder if this postcard was even an ‘official’ publication.

The series title Our Future Army is open to interpretation. When titled Soldier Girls, we can assume that series was intended to be patronising / amusing; a play on the established concept of “soldier boys”. Being so similar, was Our Future Army intended to be comic also? Again, the auction listing suggests so. Is it a snide warning of a shockingly feminised future? Or, presuming this was produced around the same time as the campaigning for women’s suffrage, could it possibly even be a celebratory invocation of a future of gender equality?

As with the other “Solder Girls”, our lady lancer is a confident and relaxed individual. I’d say that there seems nothing overtly patronising, amusing or incongruous about the image to modern eyes; just a woman in uniform (although the Troop Sergeant Major may have something to say about that extravagant hair-do).

The Uniform:

N.B. Much detailed information on this uniform, as so often, has come courtesy of the fabulous Uniformology website:

The illustration is of an officer of the The 17th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers. She wears the distinctive lancer’s cap with the ribbed cloth on the top (called a trencher) being white for the 17th regiment. The extravagant drooping white feather plume is swan.

An earlier version of a Czapka of the 17th Lancers circa 1854 (The Royal Lancers & Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum)

The tunic’s dark blue, as are the overalls which feature double white stripes. Two rows of brass buttons and a white plastron are on the front of the tunic. The piping seen around the tunic edge is in the same white facing colour. There’s a gold lace shoulder belt with silver picker plate and boss (though I can’t make out the chains). Gold cap lines are passing under the gold shoulder cords (although I can’t make out a brass button which would have had the famous ‘Death or Glory Boys’ skull and crossbones upon it – or should that be Death or Glory Girls?). With no silver rank markings visible, I’m calling this lady a 2nd Lieutenant.

From the design of the 3 bar hilt, it appears she’s holding an 1822 pattern Light Cavalry Sword, though I’m not certain the sword knot should be white. The white gauntlet gloves here were worn both mounted and, as in this case, dismounted.

All in all, I’d say it’s pretty darn accurate! I wonder why the illustrators of Soldier Girls and Our Future Army would go to such lengths to accurately reproduce uniforms like this if the intention was to create a postcard solely for comic amusement? The listing description suggests something of this modern ambiguity; in some way “political” yet at the same time “comic”, albeit including the term “Suffragette”, though positively or derisively I’m not entirely sure from the illustration.

Whatever the intention, this 21st-century collector likes it. It’s a skilful and accurate illustration of a 17th Lancer’s uniform c.1900 and is also (to my eyes) a realistic and respectful portrayal of a woman wearing it. And so, Our Future Army takes its place in the slowly growing gallery of my “Soldier Girls” collection.

Postscript July 2021: I’ve recently discovered an image of another of these “Our Future Army” ladies. The image is of a trooper of the Royal Horse Guards, ‘The Blues’.

I’ve not seen it for sale and so is not in my collection – yet!

PPS – And another from this series with the lady seemingly smoking, carrying a crop or cane, and wearing some sort of informal dress uniform? Anything more is difficult to say.

Another Marrion’s Man?

My “Marrion’s Men” series features 54mm yeomanry figures whose sculpting appears to be based closely on illustrations by the great military artist R.J. Marrion. All of these illustrations are featured on the covers of a series of books called “The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914”, all of which were published between 1980 and 1992.

It now seems I may have discovered another 54mm yeomanry figure seemingly inspired by Bob Marrion’s illustrations from this series. This figure could be said to have been hiding in plain sight, being still freely available for sale from Tradition of London! The figure is of a yeoman from the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry.

Officer, Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry by Tradition of London.

Number 6 book in the series is on the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry by L. Barlow and R.J. Smith. Bob Marrion’s illustration of this officer appears on the back cover, alongside a sergeant and a mounted kettledrummer.

The authors state simply that it depicts “an officer in Field Dress in 1900”. The illustration itself is based on a photograph appearing inside on Page 14 showing a Major J. Rutherford wearing the same uniform while mounted.

“Fig. 14. Major J. Rutherford in Mounted Field Dress at Hightown Camp, 1900. He wears the new felt hat and the original pagri is just visible. The 1896 serge frock is worn with Undress white belt and slings and the pantaloons have gold stripes; knee boots. The sabretache with gold ornament, introduced about 1895, can also be seen.”

The pose on Tradition’s 54mm figure is not identical but is very similar and the uniform appears to be the same in all details. There’s no sabretache and sword (not to say any cigarette in hand either), also the stone distance marker on which the officer nonchalantly places his foot has been replaced by Tradition by a wooden box.

Despite all that, I think the clear and unmistakable similarities mean that for me it still qualifies as a newly identified “Marrion’s Man”.

Order placed with Tradition of London! 🙂

A Portrait of the Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry

Being always interested in the colourful array of Napoleonic yeomanry, I recently noticed a striking painting up for sale. It’s a contemporary oil painting of an officer of the Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry which I thought pleasing enough to share.

Portrait of An Officer & His Mount, Surrey Yeomanry by Augustus S. Boult

In the distance can be seen the whole regiment lined up as well as a separate group nearby. They wear white over red plumes while the officer wears red. One of this group is presumably intended to be a trumpeter wearing a darker (navy?) coloured coat, a Tarleton possibly with its crest being topped with red, and also being mounted on a grey. His instrument might possibly just be discerned being held in his right hand.

From the heavy pall of smoke to the left distance, a significant battle seems to be in progress – a fanciful invention for a regiment whose duties were principally limited to policing civil unrest!

Pattern 1822 Light Cavalry Sabre and scabbard

I was initially unsure of the year it was painted but the sale description suggested the officer has drawn a Pattern 1822 Light Cavalry Sword. This trusty weapon was to remain in use in the British army up until 1896 and in some yeomanry regiments well into the 20th century.

The regiment was disbanded briefly at the end of the 1820s. Given the sword pattern, the Napoleonic-era uniform and Tarleton helmet, it seemed likely that it must have been mid-1820s, prior to any subsequent uniform change. Yeomanry could be slow to adopt changes in military fashion from the regular forces as the cost of adopting new uniforms would usually come from the regiment’s own colonel and benefactor. A portrait of a quartermaster from the Leicestershire Yeomanry, for example, shows him still wearing a Tarleton helmet in the 1850s!

Portrait of an Officer of the Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry
 , 1823–1823

A little research soon threw up another Boult painting of a Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry officer. This portrait is dated 1823. Presumably both the paintings being commissioned together and is therefore likely the same date as the first canvas. This painting depicts the officer in a more dynamic pose, firing his pistol, seemingly as he rides hurriedly back towards his lines away from the enemy! To the distance right, another line of light blue Surrey yeomen can be seen. Notably, the trouser on this officer is of a light blue or blue-grey colour rather than the apparent black in the first portrait.

Also in the saleroom is this 100mm Die-Cast figure of Colonel Lord Leslie of the Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry, the regiment’s founder. Dying in 1817, this is not the same as the officer in the painting.

And the painting of the Surrey Yeomanry continues to this day as seen on this pub sign (depicting a later incarnation of the regiment). On Dorking High Street is a pub which was named in honour of Lord Leslie back in the early 19th century, the Lord being a former neighbour.

About the artist:

I can’t find much information about the artist Augustus S. Boult beyond what appears on auction sites. It appears that he specialised in painting equestrian, country and hunting subjects and painted at least some other cavalry portraits. It appears that he had a relation (possibly a son), Francis, who followed in the same tradition, painting very similar subjects but seemingly non-military. Augustus Boult died in 1853.

The Illustrated London News, Sept. 26th, 1863…

For some time, I’ve had my eye on acquiring one of the many Victorian newspaper illustrations of rifle volunteers from the movement’s heyday in the 1860s through to the end of the century. It was an abstract concept until Mark from Man of Tin drew my attention to such a print on display over his painting desk. It looked so good that it convinced me to do likewise.

The image I’ve chosen featured in a recent post and is taken from The Illustrated London News, September 1963. The caption reads: Review of the Norfolk Volunteers on Mousehold Heath: Lady Suffield presenting the prizes won at the Norfolk Rifle Association meeting.

A spare frame and a cheap picture mount does the job nicely.

I chose this one because of my interest in military volunteers from Norfolk, being a county I lived in years ago. What’s more, the illustration is a good scene of Victorian volunteer soldiery together with depictions of men and women of the local community taking a keen interest in proceedings. The dark-coated men lined up are from the local Volunteer Rifle Corps.

To either side are the mounted Norfolk Light Horse in their scarlet coats, wearing black dragoon helmets with falling white plumes, a force which I posted about earlier this year. This short-lived formation were attached to the local rifle corps. Other mounted military men in the distance appear to be officers wearing a variety of headdress and I can even make out a hussar.

The mounted man in the foreground appears to be an infantry or militia officer.

In the centre with the cocked hat could even be the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk which at the time of this event would have been Thomas Coke’s son**.

And so, the artistic militarisation of my household walls continues…

** Incidentally, this week it was announced in the Eastern Daily Press that Norfolk has appointed its first female Lord-Lieutenant of the county in 470 years of the role.

Marrion’s Men #5: Officer, Yorkshire Hussars

Last year, I complained in a post about my inability to source another R.J. Marrion-inspired yeomanry figure after being comprehensively outbid on an auction site for one. The bidder fortuitously – or perhaps graciously – withdrew their winning bid and the figure came into my possession.

After making such a terrible fuss back in September over acquiring it in the first place, I thought it about time to finally commit some paint to the figure. So here he is, mounted on a plinth in the same manner as the rest of my Marrion Men.

About the uniform:

The figure is based on an R.J. Marrion illustration on the front cover of “The Yorkshire Hussars” by L. Barlow and R.J. Smith. This was the third edition of the Ogilby Trust series, “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914”. This man is described in the footnotes as being an ‘Officer, Undress, 1852’.

I have a 1846 print of an officer of this regiment displayed in the house. It displays the officer in his Full Dress finery, quite a contrast to the plainer Undress version that I’ve painted.

Detail from my 1848 print of an officer of the Yorkshire Hussars by Henry Martens.

The Undress uniform worn by my figure was first adopted in 1834. Barlow and Smith describe it in these terms;

Officers adopted a new Undress frock coat in 1834 (shown on the front cover). It had a roll collar and 6 black olivets down the front, two at the waist behind and two cloth-covered buttons at each wrist. It was worn with a crimson waistcoat showing at the neck…and, after 1850, with a scarlet, silver braided waistcoat.

In quarters, and when the men were in stable orders, only the crimson and gold Hussar sash was worn with this garment; when on duty, the Full Dress pouch, sword belt (worn under the sash) and the black sabretache were worn.

Barlow and Smith also describe the overalls being adopted at the same time;

In 1832 new cloth overalls of a dark grey mixture — the shade being practically black — were issued, with a single broken bias lace stripe for the officers, and white for the men.

Some further changes occurred around 1850. Although “the same Undress frock coat and overalls were worn as in 1834”, the cap was now as seen on my figure. Barlow and Smith;

A scarlet cloth forage cap with 1 and half inch silver Granby lace band and the York Rose in outline in triple silver braid on the crown.

I think my cap looks more crimson, than scarlet… but never mind!

Barlow and Smith again;

The dress pouch-belt was worn with a black patent leather pouch, the flap edge of which was bound with silver, with a silver York Rose in the centre;

Originally, not paying close enough attention to the text, I painted my ‘black patent leather pouch’ in red blindly following the inaccurate example of another painted version of this figure which I found on the internet. I’ve now corrected it using “glossy black” for the patent leather, which is maybe a tad too shiny?

…the sabretache was plain black, with a silver Rose; slings and sword knot of black leather.

So here’s how the figure compares to Bob Marrion’s illustration:

These ‘Marrion Men’ are as rare as hen’s teeth, it seems, though I try to keep scouring the auction sites for examples. Until and if any more appear, this Yorkshireman remains the last of my Bob Marrion tributes. Other figures in the series can found here;

A little more on the Derbyshire Yeomanry Mounted Band

Last year, I posted on my discovery of a painting hung on the wall of the ‘unstately home’ Calke Abbey. I realised that the scene depicted the band of the Derbyshire Yeomanry whose existence my guide to mounted bands suggested was unproven. At the time, I wondered what the parade could possibly have been for. Thankfully, some enquiries I made with the Melbourne Historical Research Group bore fruit thanks to the informative reply by a Mr Philip Heath.

Entrance of the Procession into Melbourne on the 10th May 1876 by John Gelder (1816 – 1885) ©National Trust Images

Mr Heath informed me that;

“The location of this scene is Derby Road, Melbourne. The house on the right is Conery House , formerly known as the Poplars (as seen in the painting), built in the 1830s. The people in the windows may well be the Robinson family who lived there at the time. The house is still there, on the corner of Queensway opposite Sainsbury’s.”

The scene of the parade today, the house then known as “The Poplars” just visible through the trees to the right.

Mr Heath continues:

“I first saw this painting when it was reproduced in Howard Colvin’s “Calke Abbey; A Hidden House Revealed” (1985), page 97. The caption in the book suggests that it shows the recent wedding of Sir Vauncey and Isabel Adderley being feted at Melbourne. As they were married on 20/4/1876, I’ve never doubted that interpretation. Although the Calke estate had few tenants in the parish of Melbourne, there was a connection with Calke and Melbourne through all the Melbourne tradesmen that found work at Calke, and there are framed “loyal addresses” from the people at Melbourne, given to the family on landmark occasions.”

So there you have it. The Derbyshire Yeomanry’s mounted band was leading a procession which was celebrating the marriage of Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe of Calke Abbey and Isabel Adderley. A natural consequence given the regiment’s close association with the Harpur family and the Derbyshire Yeomanry.

A 1794 musical score that I found in Calke of “Two marches composed by Joseph Haydn for Henry Harpur Bart. and presented by him to the Volunteer Cavalry of Derbyshire”.

However, it seems any excessive pride I may have had in my sleuthing is somewhat misplaced. I now realise that other conclusive evidence of the mounted band must have since come to light since R.G. Harris’ wrote his words on the Derbyshire Yeomanry band. The DYC’s own website actually includes photographic evidence (although no reference is made to the
painting of the procession). Furthermore, the image also shows kettledrums and drum banners included, which I’ve circled below. All this information must have been unavailable to Ronald G. Harris at the time.

Blurred and indistinct; a ghostly image of the Mounted Derbyshire Yeomanry at Aston Camp in 1890. Photo: The Derbyshire Yeomanry Association.

The DYC Drum banners were crimson with a rose in gold under a crown and is shown in the Players cigarette card series with a wreath and a scroll.

I want to thank Mr Heath and the Melbourne Historical Research Group and also end with a few words about the now sadly deceased Ronald G. Harris, who authored that yeomanry mounted band book in the 1980s. Currently up for sale on eBay are some of his extensive research material and archive (most being well out of my modest budget unfortunately). Much of his archive material is completely unique and remarkable, a throwback to an era when research had to be carried out without easy reference to the internet by committed military history enthusiasts like Mr Harris.

Calke Abbey © National Trust / Ian Buxton, David Midgelow, Brian Birch