Campbell’s Cavalrymen #2: Yeoman of Yorkshire

I’ve been quietly making a return to the 54mm yeomanry figure painting with one of my two remaining Mitrecap Miniatures figures. The figure in question is a 1908 officer of the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry which, together with the Yorkshire Dragoons and Yorkshire Hussars, are one of all three Yorkshire yeomanry regiments covered by the manufacturer. This bias towards Yorkshire can be explained by the manufacturer heralding from Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The painting instruction for this metal 54mm figure includes the following advice:

Thankfully, I already had one of these references, the former being a plate illustrated by E.A. Campbell in R.G. Harris’ 1972 book. This artist also inspired the previous Mitrecap figure I painted this year of the Surrey yeomanry. Campbell’s illustration of the East Riding soldier appears at the end of the book:

The other reference comes from the April 1983 edition of Military Modelling which I sourced cheaply from eBay. The relevant article is “The East Riding Yeomanry (Wenlock’s Horse) 1902-1947: Part 1” by Major R. Wilson. It contains information on the regiment’s formation, a detailed description of the uniform and a number of watercolour illustrations by an artist identified only with the initials “M.J.T.”.

The first challenge was trying to replicate the particular shade of the tunic which has variously been described as being either “claret” or “maroon” both in the Harris book and in the painting advice provided by Mitrecap, but simply as “maroon” by Major Wilson in the article. Not having a ready-made maroon/claret in my paint rack I had to set about mixing my own shade and, after a couple of abject failures, finally settled on one I was content with which, I hope, does the job.

This is the first 54mm yeomanry figure I’ve painted wearing a lancer cap (Czapka). It’s cloth panels are a colourful light blue with a black patent leather skull cap and gold lines and chin scales. The plume is described as a white and pale blue feather affair, the blue is really clear on Campbell’s illustration but less so on MJT’s which appears largely white. I’ve gone with MJT with just a hint of light blue peeking between the white feathers.

East Riding Museums have this lovely yeomanry czapka as an exhibit available to view online which seems to be white with a very feint hint of pale blue about it.

The light blue appears again as double stripes on the dark blue overalls. My captain also wears a lancer’s girdle of red and gold bands which had to be painted freehand, a bit tricky as there were no sculpted lines.

Pale blue piping is also on the rear and edges of the jacket. These rear views show my addition of some details on a plaque. The plinth is alder wood and hand-made in the Ukraine – very posh!

The figure came with a sword and scabbard with slings but, no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t place it anywhere which looked natural. So as he looks entirely happy without it, I simply left it off completely. However, since taking these photos, I’ve found an image which better explains its positioning so I’m going to have another go but it’s just too late for this post, I’m afraid!

The plastron on the chest, the shoulder straps and collar are also pale blue which, as a combination with the maroon/claret jacket, puts me in mind of the claret and blue of the football strips of West Ham or Aston Villa). The overall effect is to add a nice addition of more vibrant colours in contrast to the predominantly khaki and dark blue colours featuring on the rest of my 54mm Yeomanry Cavalry figures.

Watercolour of a 1906 East Riding Yeomanry officer appearing on the East Riding Musems site. The artist shows a pale blue plume!

Finally, the regiment has a badge on the collar featuring a guilt metal fox with the legend “Forrard” which wasn’t at all present on the figure so I’ve simply painted my own approximated version.

Overall, I’m very happy with this new addition to the yeomanry fold. I’ve a number of figures to keep adding to the project but only one Mitrecap version. The now sadly demised Mitrecap Miniatures made some terrific yeomanry figures and I’d dearly love to source those remaining ones one day (there are about five that I know of). The sculpting on this Captain of the East Riding yeomanry stands as testament to their quality figures.

Mitrecap Miniatures

I mentioned in a post recently that I’d won a figure in auction to add to my steadily growing 54mm Yeomanry Cavalry series (aka Marrion’s Men). I’d missed out on this figure a year or so ago and so was understandably delighted to get my hands on it this time around. It’s an officer of the Sussex Yeomanry, circa 1908. The pose though not identical is very similar and the painting guide actually directly references the Marrion illustration seen below.

This illustration by Bob Marrion features on the cover of the first book in the Ogilby Trust series on British yeomanry uniforms which ran between the late 70s and the early 90s. On the same cover is another illustration of an officer which I’ve previously painted in 54mm (see below).

Mitrecap Miniatures was, so far as I can find out, established by Dennis Johnson in 1979 and did well until it eventually was brought to a close possibly sometime in the early-mid 2000s with the proprietor’s emigration to Spain. Names of some of the sculptors for Mitrecap that I’ve seen referenced elsewhere are Keith Durham and Peter Loxley.

This July 1984 edition of Modelworld News announced that “a new name to us is Mitrecap Miniatures 23 Queen’s Road, Sheffield, South Yorks. They have quite a big range of 54mm cast figures in kit form, including the British yeomanry (i.e. TA cavalry) regiments of the pre-1939 period…

Recently, I discovered that my previously unsourced Westmorland & Cumberland yeoman figure in the Marrion series (painted back in 2018), is indeed another Mitrecap Miniature. Sure enough it is featured in their list of ‘figurines and accessories’. Their entire list demonstrates that they did a good line in volunteer troops of all kinds (militia, volunteer associations, rifle volunteers, etc).

These “Turn of the Century” figures, for example, include yeomanry of:

  • The Oxfordshire Hussars (1900)
  • Westmoreland & Cumberland Yeomanry (1900)
  • The Leicestershire Yeomanry (1910)
  • Yorkshire Dragoons (1900)
  • Yorkshire Hussars (1900)
  • Worcestershire Yeomanry (1900)
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry (1908)
  • Westminster Dragoons (1909)
  • Fife & Forfar Yeomanry (1895)
  • Surrey Yeomanry (1905)
  • Sussex Yeomanry (1908)

Great to hear there were other yeomanry figures made under this manufacturer.

My Mitrecap Miniatures’ officer of the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry.

Now I know that the Sussex and Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry figures are inspired by Bob Marrion illustrations, I wonder how many of the others are too? Bob Marrion certainly produced illustrations of the Yorkshire Hussars, the Yorkshire Dragoons, the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry, the Worcestershire Yeomanry and the Westminster Dragoons; all of which are listed by Mitrecap. So plenty of scope for another Marrion-inspired Mitrecap figure there.

…But now I’ve snapped up two more Mitrecap yeomanry figures which came up for auction this week for a very reasonable price indeed!*

*Honestly, Mrs Marvin!!

Neither of these figures are taken from the Marrion series of illustrations. However, on opening their still-sealed packets, I discovered that the figures were actually inspired by another artist well known to me. The painting guides reference Plate 25 and Plate 32 from “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms” by R.G. Harris and I thankfully have a copy of this 1972 book – a Christmas present received a couple of years ago.

One of these figures is based on this below illustration of a Lieutenant of the Surrey Yeomanry. Similar to the pose shown below in Campbell’s painting, the 54mm figure has his slouch hat detached and held in a hand:

The other figure references a plate of an officer of the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry wearing a lancer uniform. This time the sculptor depicts the soldier wearing his lancer cap rather than following the illustration. The painting guide for this figure points to Plate 32 of Harris’ book and also Military Modelling’s 1983 April and May Issues.

The plates in this book are all work by the artist and former volunteer soldier, Edmund A. Campbell, who died in 1951 leaving behind a considerable number of military artworks from his extensive and first hand research. I suspect that the Mitrecap figures listed for the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry and the Oxfordshire Hussars at least could well be inspired by their respective Campbell plates (nos. 4 and 21). So it may be that I find myself developing a 54mm yeomanry series referencing the work of another military artist: Campbell’s Cavalry, perhaps?