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;

Frame and Glory: Fores’ Yeomanry Costumes

A short post to celebrate the display of all four of my 1840s prints of Fores’ Yeomanry Costumes, which are now all framed and up on the wall at home.

  • Top; the 2nd West York Yeomanry
  • Bottom; the Buckinghamshire Hussars

And below, a reminder of my first two framed prints from last year;

  • (Left) The Yorkshire Hussars
  • (Right) The Long Melford Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry

You can read about the origin and history of these artworks in my original post from last year by clicking on the link below:

Missing out on another Marrion Man…

I’ve some news of another Robert Marrion related figure which appeared on eBay recently. This was a superbly sculpted figure based upon Marrion’s illustration from the cover of “The Yorkshire Hussars”, the 3rd volume in the series “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force, 1794-1914”.

Yorkshire Hussars

The man that it is based upon appears fourth from right on the cover below;

Marrion yeomanry yorkshire (3).JPG

It represents an officer of the Yorkshire Hussars appearing in Undress from the year 1852.  He wears a scarlet cloth forage cap and an Undress frock coat and overalls from the same period depicted in my recently purchased 1844 print of the regiment by Fores. There appears to be a little flash to be removed from between the legs.

yorkshire-hussars-marrion.jpg

The rear view is always interesting to see revealed on such figures because that’s the view of the illustration I never get to see from the cover of a book. The pouch on the back would have been black patent leather with a central silver York rose. This rose motif also can be just seen on the sabretache.

Yorkshire Hussars2

I would have dearly loved to let my brush loose on those luxurious whiskers and characterful face…

Yorkshire Hussars4 (2).jpg

But I was outbid once again.

It is apparent that there is a particularly wealthy collector on eBay with a passionate interest in collecting lots of 54mm metal figures (apparently winning over 160 such figures every month)! Ah well, his win at least engenders a sigh of relief from my own sorry and beleaguered current account. Hopefully, the victor will find much pleasure in his purchase.

This well-heeled chap also comfortably outbid me for another Marrion figure a few months ago, this officer of the Sussex Yeomanry:

Sussex got away

That other figure collector is saving me a lot of money, but I confess to being a trifle downcast at my inability to source any more Marrion’s Men. I’ll of course keep looking for more but I wonder whether I shall be painting any more in the foreseeable future with such a formidable rival bidder on the scene!

Fores’s Yeomanry Costumes

I’ve very recently become the proud owner of some large antique prints purchased at what was an absurdly low budget price (aka ‘my price range’). On coming through the post, they emitted that strong musty smell suggestive of great age and antiques.

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The four prints depict the following yeomanry cavalry regiments from the 1840s:

  • The Yorkshire Hussars

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  • The Buckinghamshire Hussars

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  • The Suffolk Yeomanry, Long Melford Troop

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  • The 2nd West York Yeomanry

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They are in excellent condition considering their great age. Coming with their own generously sized mounts, they are 45cm x 55cm in dimensions, so they are really quite large for a suburban domestic property. My wife has generously agreed to their being displayed in the spare upstairs room as soon as I source some appropriate frames.

So what’s the story behind these prints?

They are from a series of prints titled “Fores’s Yeomanry Costumes“. Each print is dated to a specific day of issue, between 1844 and 1846, and state that they are published in London by “…Messrs Fores, at their sporting and fine print repository & frame manufactory, 41 Piccadilly, corner of Sackville Street.”

sackville street
41 Piccadilly, corner of Sackville St today. Now a Pret-a-Manger – predictably!

‘Messrs Fores’ were the sons of Samuel William Fores. He was an illustrator and publisher based in London. Fores Senior was the son of a cloth merchant and established his business as a print seller in 1783, specialising in popular satirical caricatures. Yeomanry had featured in Fores publications prior to the 1840s. the most infamous of which was by George Cruickshank who created a biting satire on the 1819 Peterloo Massacre. The sarcastically titled “Manchester Heroes” are the men of the ‘Manchester and Salford Yeomanry’ who are sabreing defenceless men, women and children, to the anguished cries of “Shame!”

Peterloo.jpg

After S.W. Fores’s death in 1838, his sons took over the business and moved their output from satire to sporting scenes and fine art. This series of yeomanry costumes, begun a few years after their father’s death, was probably a part of that intentional move away from the satirical publications that had made his fortune.

Martens Fores yeomanry (17)

The prints are plates numbered 1, 3, 4 and 6 from a series of eight, so far as I can tell, in total. The drawings are by Henry Martens, a military artist whom I’ve mentioned before on Suburban Militarism after seeing copies of some of his paintings displayed at the Royal Norfolk Regiment Collection,  The 2017 Anglo-Sikh Wars exhibition and also at the Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum last year. I also saw a print from this very series when I visited the Shropshire Yeomanry Museum earlier this year. The print (plate 5 in the series) featured the South Salopian Yeomanry and was reproduced on my report on the Shropshire Yeomanry earlier this year.

Shropshire Museum Painting
South Salopian Yeomanry by H. Martens

Martens painted a great deal of military scenes in the early 19th century, notably on the Sikh and Xhosa wars. He was, however, apparently also well known for his depiction of British army uniforms released between 1839 and 1843 under a different publisher (Ackermann). The Yeomanry Costumes drawings appears to have been a natural continuation of his successful uniforms series with Ackermann.

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Martens’ works were often engraved and hand-coloured by a lithographer called John Harris, and this is indeed the case with my own prints. The ridges of carefully applied paint on the prints can still be felt on the fingertips!

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I’m well used to seeing the beautiful and prodigious work by Richard Simkin in his depictions of the yeomanry during the 1880s and 1890s. Henry Martens, it seems, can be placed in a tradition of faithfully recording the exotic dress of Britain’s yeomanry regiments, a tradition which was carried on by Simkin.

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As I’ve indicated, I believe, at least four more paintings were produced in this series. These depicted the West Essex Yeomanry, the Buckinghamshire Artillery Corps, another scene of the Long Melford Troop from Suffolk and, as previously mentioned, the South Salopian Yeomanry. It’s interesting that two were produced for the Long Melford Troop and two for troops from Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire. Some of the prints (notably not the Long Melford Troop) includes a dedication to a local dignitary and the ‘Gentlemen of the Corps’. It’s possible that sponsorship was received by the publisher for this series from those willing and able to pay for the privilege.

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Dedicated reads: “To His Grace The Duke of Buckingham and the Gentlemen of the Corps, these engravings are respectfully dedicated by their obliged and humble servants, The Publishers.”

Martens Fores yeomanry (16)
“To the Rt. Hon. The Earl de Grey and the Gentlemen of the Corps. this engraving is respectfully dedicated by their obliged and obedient servants, The Publishers.”

There may be more than 8 prints in the series. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any other bargains, though wall space for any more will be limited! I doubt another in a similar and affordable price range will turn up any time soon, however!

Martens Fores yeomanry (3)

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