Aside from quietly, steadily progressing with my WWI Serbian project, I’ve been sustaining my hobby muse by occasionally dipping into another of my growing collection of 54mm Yeomanry figures.
A 54mm single figure was perfect for a diversion as I could make small additions to it whenever it suited me, whereas with a larger group of figures I find that when painting one, I’m logically obliged to paint all the others at the same time making for a bigger time commitment.
This yeoman is an officer of the Lancashire Hussars in 1913. The model is another made by Chota Sahib, a manufacturer whom I first encountered with the last yeomanry figure I tackled; the Lincolnshire Yeomanry officer.
The Lancashire Hussars were raised in 1848 by Sir John Gerard (Baronet) and were known locally as Lord Gerard’s Own. The county of Lancashire was also represented at this time by the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (a figure from which I painted last year).
The ‘very rich’ early Hussar uniforms were based upon that of the 11th Hussars who wore crimson-coloured trousers (unique among British regiments), and the Lancashire Hussars were to be inspired by this famous colour distinction in various ways. The ‘field uniform’ consisted then of a tall crimson shako and examples of this uniform can be seen in two oil paintings by John Ferneley, painted in the 1850s. Apparently affected by a fire at some point in their history, the paintings now show the blue uniforms a little darker than originally depicted.
Geoff Wright, writing for the Southport Visitor provides an excellent history of the Lancashire Hussars with plenty of great images. He has this to say about the regiment’s early incarnation:
Many of the first volunteering mid-19th century soldiers were largely recruited from among the rural tenants of Sir Gerard and his neighbouring estates, made up of farmers and agricultural labourers, and so they were affectionately nicknamed the ‘Cabbage Cutters’.
The trained-up and smartly-dressed troops were always a great attraction in the countryside en-route from their Ormskirk base to their annual training ground – Southport Sands; the crowds of fellow workers, mainly farmers and village labourers, always gave them a hearty wave and cheer, they were greeted everywhere they went.Nostalgia: The lost story of the Lancashire Hussars, Part One
(Note: Part Two of this history can be found here).
In 1879, the regiment’s uniform changed to a more typical hussar pattern, though still inspired by the 11th, and this new uniform was retained with minor changes up until the era depicted by this figure, 1913. The photograph below is included in my copy of “The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation” by Smith and Harris:
I’ve designated this figure as being another of “Campbell’s Cavalrymen” as the painting notes provided by Chota Sahib reference R.G. Harris’ “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms” in which E.A. Campbell was the illustrator of the plates. Campbell’s depiction of the Lancashire Hussar can be seen below:
The busby is described as being a dark brown fur with a crimson bag and silver cap lines which ended plaited over the right breast in a pattern apparently imitating their muse, the Cherrypickers. The white-over-crimson plume ends in a silver holder. I thought the busby was very convincingly sculpted by Chota Sahib.
The blue tunic worn by the officer has lines of silver braiding and loops. The shoulder belt for officers only was silver-covered with a silver picker plate and boss, apparently of a Lancashire rose design.
As for legwear, these were usually blue, as shown in this Simkin illustration of the regiment found in my old copy of “British Yeomanry Uniforms”.
However, Campbell’s portrayal of the officer wearing crimson overalls (which was only for officers) makes for a more colourful and distinctive uniform than the more usual dark blue. His overalls in the book, however, were reproduced in a shade of red which seemed just a little bright to me and so I’ve toned my figure’s overalls down to a deeper shade of red which I hope is just a touch more ‘crimson’.
The rear of the jacket has more silver braiding detailing and a silver pouch. You can also see the slings attached to the sword. Unfortunately, I oafishly broke a spur but I am sure I’ll fix this by and by…
After painting this officer’s face, I noticed that I seemed to have given him a squint. Rather than correct this, I left it as it is as I was quite pleased with it!
A year after this figure’s 1913 incarnation, various units of the regiment would go on to serve in the First World War as either cavalry, infantry or even cyclists. After The Great War, The Lancashire Hussars, as with many other Yeomanry regiments at this time, were converted to an artillery role being re-designated as the 2nd (Lancashire) Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
There are still more of these turn-of-the-century 54mm yeomen in my collection to paint, some of which are still courtesy of the excellent Chota Sahib. As these have been a pleasure to paint, I don’t envisage leaving it too long before tackling the next one!