You’ve been framed: Henry Marten’s Yeomen

Just a quick post to share some photos of two of my recently purchased Henry Martens yeomanry prints, now newly framed and hanging up on the wall here at Suburban Militarism.

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The Yorkshire Hussars
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Long Melford Troop of Suffolk Yeomanry

And I’ll be sourcing frames for the remaining two prints at some point, when circumstances at the family exchequer improve…

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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”.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.”

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.”
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“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!

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Mörner Hussars (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #27)

It’s been a while coming but steady progress has been made on this latest regiment which, at 18 figures, may well be the largest I’ve so far attempted. Painting 18 of everything certainly makes for a longer painting process. Thankfully, the figures were pleasurable to paint.

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The three poses for the regiment work well, but that might be considered a little insufficient for a force of 18 figures. Furthermore, there are only two horse poses and, I know I’ve said it before, the horses are good rather than great.

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Six figures are on the charge with sabres waving. They wear their pelisse and have blue overalls, suitable for being on campaign. Another half-dozen are hussars wearing buff breeches rather than blue overalls. They also carry their pelisse over the shoulder. Black fur trim on their pelisse was unique to this regiment in the Swedish cavalry.

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Figures with sabres drawn and at the walk:

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Figures waving sabres in attack:

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In Full Dress:

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There’s still another four, yes four, regiments from this set to produce, though none will be as numerous as the Hussars. The next one in the box I thought I’d tackle is the Royal Lifeguard, numbering a mere 6 figures. From the largest regiment in my project to the smallest! Six is a suitable number for a royal bodyguard unit, I think.

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A few more photos of my finished figures and then an overview of the Mörner Hussars history in the usual Regimental Biography.


Biography: Mörner Hussars [Sweden]

The regiment was first established in 1758 as the Swedish Hussar Regiment (Svenska Husarregementet). It was located at Bonarps Hed in the province of Skåne, in the southern tip of Sweden.

In 1762, the regiment was separated into two independent regiments known as the Blå and Gula Husarregementet (i.e. the blue and yellow hussar regiments, see respective illustrations above). These two were merged back to one in 1766 with the name Husarregementet. At this time, it’s strength was approximately 400 men divided into eight squadrons. Intrestingly, the famous Prussian Marshall Blücher originally served with the Blå Hussars during the first campaigns of the Swedish Field Army in Pomerania, his family originally coming from the area.

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Swedish Cavalry:  A Mörner Hussar (right) with Carabiniers.

In the Swedish provinces of the Duchy of Pomerania in what is now Germany, the regiment was primarily responsible for guarding and patrolling the borders. In 1772, under King Gustav III, the regiment was transferred back to mainland Sweden, and was first placed in a number of cities on the west coast and rotated to other western Swedish cities thereafter.

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Mörner Hussar, 1792,

In 1797, the name was changed again to the Horn Hussars (Hornska husarregementet), being named after the regiment’s colonel, Samuel Horn. The Horn Hussars continued to transfer to various locations during this time including, Halmstad, Malmö, Helsingborg, Ängelholm, Ystad and Simrishamn.

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Illustration of Mörner Hussar, 1796.

The Napoleonic Wars demanded an increase in the regiment’s size and the number of squadrons rose to eight in total, with up to 100 men per squadron. In 1801, the regiment was named the Mörner Hussars (Mörnerska Husarregementet), when Hampus Mörner became head of the regiment.

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Hampus Mörner. The man himself in a cuirassier uniform. Miniature by Domenico Bossi, 1796.

A less than glorious episode for the regiment is remembered with some irony as being the Battle of Klågerup. In 1810, Sweden enacted sweeping army draft regulations to increase its supply of forced recruits. Many groups in society were exempt, however, with the burden therefore falling on the poor. In 1811, anger amongst this group finally resulted in the so-called Klågerup riots.

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Memorial for those killed in the Klågerup riots 1811.

Major Hampus Mörner went with 150 men of his hussar regiment and two cannons to face a mob of about 800 at Klågerup. Mörner’s troops tried to persuade them to leave but they wouldn’t disperse and the major launched an attack which killed about 40 of the rebels. 100s more were wounded, captured and imprisoned, with a ‘ringleader’ publicly being executed in Malmö.

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The Battle of Bornhöft (1813). Painting by Per Krafft the Younger.

More gallantly, on December 7, 1813, the regiment played an important role in the Swedish victory in the battle of Bornhöved in Schleswig-Holstein. Crown prince Charles John led a division to pursue the retreating Danish army. This division under the commander of the Swedish cavalry, Anders Fredrik Skjöldebrand, included the Mörner Hussars . Having been carefully spared any serious engagement hitherto by the Crown Prince, all of the Swedish cavalry was desperate to finally see some combat. Such frustration apparently bubbled over when they disobeyed orders and rode straight at the Danish army.

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Contemporary illustration of the Mörner Hussars laying into the Danish rearguard at the battle of Bornhöved. Note the fleeing Polish lancers, top right.

The cavalry soon caught up and clashed with the Danish rearguard which included Napoleon’s famous Polish lancers of the Guard. By the evening, the Swedes encountered the main Danish army at Bornhöved, a 2,500 strong Danish force which included infantry, cavalry and artillery. With nightfall close, it seemed as though a suicidal frontal cavalry assault upon the Danes was unlikely. Having dispersed the rearguard, however, the 471 strong Swedish cavalry, including the Mörner Hussars commanded by Colonel Bror Cederström, immediately attacked and forced the Danish army into retreat.

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The Mörner Hussars at the Battle of Bornhöved, 1813.

Remarkably, the charge of the Mörner Hussars at the battle of Bornhöved was to prove to be the last time a Swedish regiment fought in a battle on foreign soil outside Scandanavia. Mörner’s nephew, Colonel Bror Cederström, had effectively been the leader of the regiment since 1804. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the regiment consequently became known as the Cederströmian Hussar Regiment (Cederströmska Husarregementet). In 1822, it was called the Crown Prince’s Hussar Regiment (Kronprinsens Husarregemente) and despite further temporary name changes, would retain this title until final disbandment in 1927.

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Colonel Bror Cederström

Notable battle: Bornhöved.

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Mörner Hussar Regiment – Progress

Just thought I’d share progress on my latest Napoleonic cavalry figures – the Mörner Hussars. There are eighteen of these to keep me busy, but they’ve been coming along easily enough.

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My Mörner Hussar Regiment – coming along steadily

The entire group of eighteen figures are made up of just three poses. Here are the half-dozen figures which wear breeches and Hessian boots with a black fur-lined pelisse hung over the shoulder:

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The remaining dozen have blue overalls on their legs with black leather knee patches. They fully wear the pelisse and have the streamer wrapped around their Mirliton hat. Half of them are waving the sabre in mid charge:

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…and the remainder have sabres drawn but are advancing steadily at the walk.

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I went a little wrong on my painting of the figures wearing overalls, unsure of what I was looking at (overalls, breeches, or a mixture of both). This resulted in my repainting the legs twice over before I was sure I was correct. One or two swear words may have been uttered during this time.

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Hessian boots still require some work.

The breeches are made of buff leather, as are the crossbelts worn by the other figures.

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HaT have produced a nice, if not spectacular, set of figures. The yellow-topped mirliton looks pleasingly unusual. The streamer (or flamme) I think should be black with yellow trim on the side I’ve painted it, not yellow as I have them, but – well –  I’m sticking with it for now! The detail is a little hazy on the braiding but I’ve done my best to bring it out and the overall effect is OK, I think.

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Taken as a large group, I think they’ll look quite impressive when mounted. With the Mörner Hussars riders nearly painted, their herd of horses will take their turn under the brush. And when I’ve finally completed all that, I’ll share what will be the 27th regiment in my Nappy Cavalry Project!

Hej då!

Marvin.

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Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry

Following on from the recent return to my Napoleonic Cavalry Project, I’m continuing the momentum with a kit that I’ve had lying around for a few years now; HaT’s Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry.

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My assistant and my latest box – two boxes of this will be used.

Actually it’s ‘kits’ (plural) rather than kit (singular) as I’m attempting two packs of the same set. The reason being that the set contains not one but five different examples of cavalry regiments. It’s a remarkable approach; to have so many different examples of troop types within one box. Furthermore, it’s unusual also that the set is produced with specific rather than generic regiments in mind. Although there is nothing recorded on the box, according to Plastic Soldier Review, HaT’s Swedish cavalry contains the following regiments pictured illustrated below on the back of the box:

  • Royal Lifeguard (middle top row)
  • Scanian Carabiniers (1st and 2nd figures, top row)
  • Skjöldebrand Cuirassier (4th figure from left, top row)
  • Småland Light Dragoons (last figures on 1st and 2nd rows)
  • Von Mörner Hussars (first three figures 2nd row)

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Some of these regiments are represented by only a few figures per box (the Royal Lifeguard and the cuirassiers); others by half a dozen (the Light Dragoons and Carabiniers); whilst the “Von Mörner Hussars” given a more generous nine. Buying a second box has therefore allowed me to double the size of these regiments into a more respectable amount.

I can announce that the first Swedish cavalry regiment that I’m attempting (and the 27th in the Nappy Cavalry Project) is the Mörner Hussar Regiment, (Mörnerska husarregementet) the most numerous regiment with 18 figures from the two boxes.

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Richard Knotel print of a rider of the Mörner Hussar Regiment, 1813.

Two of the hussar figures wear their fur-lined pelisse, the other having it over the left shoulder. This figure also has the distinction of wearing a ‘streamer’ attached to their mirleton hat. The other two have it wrapped around the hat instead and doubtless, therefore, less of a nuisance.

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Mirliton with streamer

The Mirleton hat is the first one attempted in the project. It was also known as the Flügelmütze or Flügelkappe and was another piece of typically outrageous hussar dandyism. It came into fashion around 1750 but by the turn of the century was becoming obsolete or ‘old hat’, if you will. The fact the Swedish hussars still employed this headgear in the Napoleonic period was a consequence of Sweden’s poor economy which meant that old-fashioned uniforms were worn for longer and only replaced when completely worn out.

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Swedish cavalry with mirliton headgear

The three hussar figures depict different legwear too. One figure wears buff leather breeches and Hessian boots (as in the figure above right). The two other figures are wearing blue overalls with, curiously, black leather knee patches – these can be seen in the Knotel print seen previously.

HaT, I’ve said before, are a manufacturer with an impressive range of topics. The sculpting runs short of the tremendously high quality of Zvezda or Italeri at their best, in my opinion. However, the figures are still neatly done and I think this Swedish set looks like they could be fun to paint. The most marked difference between HaT and Zvezda can be seen in the horses, I think, an area where Zvezda’s sculpting really excels whereas HaT is simply OK.

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Hat Morner Hussars

Nevertheless, with the kind of diversity such as HaT have packed into this box, I’m looking forward to developing them and seeing how they turn out. Furthermore, this is the first time in the project that I’ve attempted a regiment from Sweden, adding further variety to my collection. Having already made a start I’ll be updating as soon as I have something worth sharing!