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"Fine portraits of French cavalrymen" Topic

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Cuirassier28 Nov 2017 10:18 a.m. PST


Officer of the 7th French Hussars, painted by Le Chevalier Féréol Bonnemaison. Oil on canvas signed and dated 1814.



Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste César Paulée of the 6th French Hussars, painted by Guillaume Descamps in 1813. Works of Descamps can be viewed today in Versailles, Chateau Malmaison, Museum of Fine Arts in Lille, etc.

Jean-Baptiste César Paulée Junior began his military service on 19th April 1811 as a Sous-Lieutenant in the 6th Regiment of Hussars. He made the entire Russian campaign of 1812 in the ranks of the 6th French Hussars. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 12 January, 1813. On 21 April of 1813, in Germany, Paulée was appointed aide-de-camp of General comte Guiilleminot. On 19 November 1813, he was awarded with the cross of Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, with simultaneous promotion to Captain (still being adjutant of General Guilleminot). In early 1814, he served in the garrison of the Fortress of Mainz (then on French territory; the fortress capitulated on 4 May, 1814). The exact date of his retreat from military service remains unknown.




A bonus for you guys… Self-portrait of the famous French military painter Édouard Détaille. Signed and dated 1908.

In this late self-portrait Détaille paints himself extravagantly moustachioed, puffing on an exotic calabash pipe, and wearing the uniform of a Red Lancer of Napoleon I's French Imperial Guard. This painting was acquired from the artist's studio by the Prince and Princess of Wales, in June of 1908.



HP2Sport28 Nov 2017 10:45 a.m. PST

Great hussar portraits. Not seen those before.

wrgmr128 Nov 2017 11:36 a.m. PST

Yes very nice find, thanks for posting!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2017 11:59 a.m. PST

The top one has set me thinking…..

We are used to seeing hussars in the Dolman, with or without a slung pelisse. But, if the latter alone is worn (and the impression I have is that it was too well fitted to wear over the laced dolman) there might still be a waistcoat exposed.

But this shows the pelisse fastened up, using the loops that are so obvious in the second picture.

OK, in that situation, was the fur only seen at the collar then and not right down the front of the fastened jacket? If so, ,many, many, hussar model figures have that wrong!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

Worked it out.

Changing fashions. Late Empire; only top two buttons could be fastened with the loops on the pelisse. Below them the fur edge would be exposed and the edges of the jacket would gape apart slightly.

Extraordinary to see the uniforms in museums. To see how small they are, how narrow the sleeves, how high the waist, right up to the rib cage. Tiny gloves and footwear.

It is only 200 years on and how we have changed ( and I do not only mean those with a BMI greater than their age in years)

Musketier28 Nov 2017 2:25 p.m. PST

We're certainly better nourished, and I mean from infancy, but seeing those museum exhibits one can't help wondering whether garments of wool and leather might have shrunk somewhat before they arrived in the tender care of conservators?

wrgmr128 Nov 2017 3:23 p.m. PST

In this book Incomparable, Napoleons 9th Light Infantry. The author talks about the height of men drafted.

Going from memory as I am not at home.
Heavy cavalry 5'7" to 5'8"
Dragoon's and artillery 5'5" to 5'6"
Light cavalry 5'4"
Infantry got the rest.
Most light infantry were the smallest and most agile 5'0" to 5'2".

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2017 4:25 p.m. PST

The 7th Hussars officer is terrific and that painting really points up how very dark their dark green was.

That artist also did a useful reference one of Alava:


Cuirassier30 May 2018 9:43 p.m. PST

Very dark indeed, 4th Cuirassier.

One more for you, my friends.

COMTE ALEXIS D'ADHÉMAR, CAPITAINE AU 2ème RÉGIMENT DE HUSSARDS (Captain in the 2nd French Hussars), 1813. Élève à l'Ecole spéciale militaire (1807).




von Winterfeldt31 May 2018 1:44 a.m. PST

very interesting – thank you for sharing

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 2:58 a.m. PST

The strides look like French WW1 horizon blue. I wonder if that's how we should interpret "light" blue?

Years ago I used to paint French guns in Humbrol French Artillery Green, and then I came across the formula which is basically WW1 khaki.

Extraordinary how persistent traditional colours can be.

Le Breton31 May 2018 6:40 a.m. PST

lieutenant de Rocca of the 2e hussards (even darker "sky blue")


Robert le Diable31 May 2018 9:54 a.m. PST

With regard to the "Gros Vert" of the French Artillery, I read that the mixture was one part black to thirty parts (I think) yellow ochre. Apparently, French "sky blue" was significantly darker than we might think (I'm pretty sure this information came from one of the reference works by Rousselot), which might be relevant to the earlier point re. "light blue"

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 12:27 p.m. PST

In England sky blue is an oxymoron most of the time. Sky grey maybe. Sky blue in some climes could be a very deep blue indeed.

@ Robert – IIRC the formula for WW1 khaki aircraft camouflage paint was also ochre plus black and WW2 olive drab was much the same colour as khaki. Hence there is a case for painting French artillery in olive drab.

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