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"Photos of the Siborne model" Topic

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5,170 hits since 24 Jun 2005
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No one at home Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 3:07 a.m. PST

Does anyone know of any online photos of this model?
I have the Hofschroer book but I'd like to see some more photos if there are any.

Martin Rapier24 Jun 2005 5:38 a.m. PST

A quick google turned up a couple of pics:



The real thing is in the Leeds Armouries, very impressive it is too.

I shall refrain from commenting on the loathsome Mr Hofschroer. oops, looks like I did.


No one at home Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 5:59 a.m. PST

Unfortunatly they are the same photos that are in the book. I was hoping someone might have taken photos of it when they visited the museum.
What I'm really after is a better understanding of how the regiments looked on a Napoleonic battlefield rather then just the usual rectangles you see on a map.

Old Smokie Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 6:00 a.m. PST

I thought the model was on permenant display at the Imperial War Museum in London ?

No one at home Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 6:07 a.m. PST

There are two. The "Lesser model" is at Leeds Armouries and "Large model" is in the National Army Museum.

Mapleleaf Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 7:44 a.m. PST

I will try to do some research for you this evening both on the Siborne Models and accurate pictures of Napoleonic battlefields. I am not at home right now but would suggest that you first look at the Bacchus Web site Peter has a model picture there in 1:1 scale of a complete 6 company French battalion in line. As this represents only one unit you can get an idea of how large formations were. Sscond I would recoommend that you try to find "Napoleon: The Last Campaigns, 1813-15 by James Philip Lawford. This is a remarakble little book that contains a number of 19th Century battle panorama paintings showing both French and allied forces in various formations; for example Line, order mixed, column, etc. If interested let me know and I will see if I can scan some details from my copy and post them here.

No one at home Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 9:46 a.m. PST

Thanks for the offer.
I'm particularly interested in the model because of the amount of research Siborne did and it's nearest thing to what I'm looking for. A lot of the paintings tend to use quite a lot of artistic licence and tend to fudge things for the sake of the composition.
Peter's Battalion is impressive, but what I'm really after is the "feel" of a Corps of Division spread over the battlefield.
The NAM isn't that far for me to travel to, I was just being lazy and I'm not sure what there policy is on taking photos.

Mapleleaf Inactive Member24 Jun 2005 11:52 a.m. PST

the NAM at least in 2002 was OK on pictures provided you do not use a flash or tripod. I have used highspeed film ( 400) and a digital camera with appropraite lighting settings and I got good results. Siborne will be difficult to photograph as it is so large and is behind glass.

EagleSixFive25 Jun 2005 10:10 a.m. PST

<I would recoommend that you try to find "Napoleon: The Last Campaigns, 1813-15 by James Philip Lawford. This is a remarakble little book that contains a number of 19th Century battle panorama paintings showing both French and allied forces in various formations; for example Line, order mixed, column, etc. If interested let me know and I will see if I can scan some details from my copy and post them here.>

Heya Mapleleaf

I would love to see those scans!

Regarding Sibornes diorama, how accurate is the topography? Anyone know? Was it created before or after the Lion Mound?

The reason I ask is it may be a true dimensional representation of the ridgeline before it was destroyed to construct the Lion Mound. Would probably be better to view than the computer reconstruction done on Battlefield Detectives.

No one at home Inactive Member25 Jun 2005 11:01 a.m. PST

I think Siborne surveyed the battleground in 1830, so that would have been after the Lion mound was constructed. Other than that I believe he went to a lot of trouble to get the topography correct.
For me one of the interesting features of the model is the layout of the field system and how this must have effected the positions of the various units. One always gets the impression of cavalry charges taking place over fairly open ground but looking at the model they would have been negotiating numerous hedges.

I've just stumbled on this site, where Scientists from the University of Salford are Reconstructing a virtual reality Waterloo Battlefield.

Mapleleaf Inactive Member25 Jun 2005 9:29 p.m. PST

Hi Demi

Can't figure out how to get a scan here if you can post an Enmail I can try there

No one at home Inactive Member26 Jun 2005 1:59 a.m. PST

you can post them on for free and post a link here

john hennessy Inactive Member27 Jul 2005 8:18 p.m. PST

i have seen both of sibornes models in spite of the restriction put on him fianically and trust he put waterloo inletters being factual egos of the offier class misguided him in the postitions and contrubitions of the anglo dutch forces as a tophotoist his models are our best resourse to how the terrian of the period appeared on mont st jean on the 18 june 1815 prior to construstion of the lion mound i beleive it would be wonderful to attempt to build a model with to-days resoures and his foresight to repair the lack of support fainicailly he had in his lifetime maybe undo some of our modern day historians slander of this self motivation as i am surethey have all learnt somthing from sibornes work viva lempueror.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2005 1:39 a.m. PST

The cavalry chare was across a number of fields but these were not bounded by hedges. Even after going to Europe for many years, I still find it strange to see the transition from one field to another with no discernable boundary other than stone markers. I went to Waterloo a couple of months ago and some of the fields seem to defy any logic with small irregular offshoots. They are still unhedged. There were hedges on the battlefield at the time but Mercer describes the one along the ridge as a 'rare bird' in the region. There is speculation (in Adkin IIRC) that the region on the east end of the French line may have been an area of hedged fields.
Across Europe in the period, hedges were nowhere near as common as in the UK. Enclosure was well established in Britain but was only starting to make an impact in certain areas of the continent.


john hennessy Inactive Member28 Jul 2005 3:32 a.m. PST

The terrian on cross roads near Wellingtons elm tree has changed No more sunking road or sandpit due to the escavations needed to build the lions mound. some years later when Wellington visited the battlefield he commented they have destroyed my battlefield in reference, to the escavations ,also in1815 the wheat fields grew much taller than todays specimins, also the area around Hougamount is a lot less wooded and the buildings suffered alot from battle damage . A wooded area now exists between Hougamount and the Belle Alliance which was not there during the battle .All these differences could be compared if some photos of Sibornes lesser model was available, to aid recreationists.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2005 11:52 a.m. PST

There are a few photos of the models plus some otehr recreations at


john hennessy Inactive Member30 Jul 2005 9:04 a.m. PST

The painting byRoger Voillet THE LAST THROPHY made me quiz the records that no anglo dutch squares were broken during the massed calvary charges on the reverse slopes of mont st jean .On investation I found Thiers LeConsulat et LEmpire states six colours were capured 42nd highlanders the kings german legion I have no other records of the rest but I am investagating. It does support the crisis piont and the weakness of the line after capture of la haye sainte. Items like this makes me qeustion historical records.I know the fog of battle is confusing but i am sure amissing colournote

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2005 4:48 p.m. PST

There were definitely three colours lost and possibly six. There is a discussion in the archives at the Napoleon-series which looks at the various French sources, which disagree with each other.
Are you sure the painting isn't The Last Trophies by Eugene Chaperon? link
If so, since this was painted in 1903, it isn't exactly a primary source.


john hennessy Inactive Member30 Jul 2005 7:05 p.m. PST

Hi swampster my source orginated in accounts by General Regnault andgeneral Delort they refere to colours betaken by captian Kleinenberg of theChasseur de la Gaurd the regimental history of 10th Cuirassiers mention asergent gautier capuring an union colour the 10th were part of brigade Farine Delort division which would co-ordiate with charges on the 3/1 Gaurds and the 33rd and 2/69 and possiably fatiguily Quackenbruck Hanoverian squares.The Chasseurs of the Gaurd more than lightly attacked north of Hougoumount through Ramseys battery on to the 23rd and split charging several brunswick squares. After this the repeative charges I beleive had no co-orderated retreat other than Herthiers division who tacticlly retreated along the chemin behind Hougoumount I'm to research by reading some of Houssayes historical french references to identify about as much information the haze of time has shaded .Maybe some of the colours could have been recaputed in the rout after the battle the victory but I'm making my own thoeries up now. butIdid find Mr Chaperon inspiring with his art. Thank you Swampster.

Allan F Mountford02 Aug 2005 9:39 a.m. PST

This was posted by John Cook on the Napoleon Series:

The simple answer is that three are confirmed by British sources; 5th bn KGL, 8th bn KGL and the Luneburg Landwehr Battalion.

Jean Regnault and Pierre Charrié both wrote articles independently on the subject of Allied colours lost at Waterloo, and separate from their books.

All were captured by cavalry but I am not sure at what stage of the battle they were taken. It would be necessary to plot where the involved regiments
were in relation to one another to determine this.

Regnault says that four were taken, one by Fourier Palau of 9e Cuirassiers, one by Marechal de Logis Gauthier of 10e Cuirassiers, one by an unidentified cuirassier of 10e Cuirassiers and one by an unidentified chasseur of the
Chasseurs à Cheval de la garde. Regnault does not identify these colours.

According to Houssaye they were deposited in Caillou farm and abandoned but one of them was later allegedly found on 26 June 1815 in Soissons by Grouchy's ADC and given to the Marshal, but it subsequently disappeared without trace.

Charrié is rather more specific and describes two of the three colours known to have been taken, one from 8th bn KGL and one from the Hanoverian Luneburg Landwehr battalion.

In addition Charriée also mentions two unidentified "English" colours taken by Palau and Gauthier of 9e and 10e Cuirassiers, "one other" colour taken by the
Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde and a unidentified
'Hanoverian' colour taken by Capitaine Klein, who is not mentioned by specifically by Regnault, also of of the Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde.

I am not sure how much of regnault is repetition of Houssaye and how much of Charrié is repetition of Regnault, but as Charrié says it is "confusing and
contradictory". Any one of the unknown colours could be one or other of the three confirmed ones.

There is no confirmation of any "English" colours (or Welsh, Scots or Irish for that matter) being lost at Waterloo and it probably not coincidence that
there are three confirmed losses and three names of French soldiers capturing colours.

john hennessy Inactive Member03 Aug 2005 1:59 p.m. PST

I primarily found two confusing results in the writings of ,Henri Lacouque, who states"The army of the lower countries, was exhausted at the crisis point. The french who were unable to maintain themselves on the plateau, with only minimal infantry support, the 8th cuirassiers"This made it possible"he states, the coordinated and infantry attacks, penetrated several squares and carried of several colours at this point, he does not state what they are s pecifically but i hope soon to investigate his statements.Gathered together by D'Erlon supported by six pounders brought up by the marshall, with the intention of demolishing the battallions of Ompteda who lost his life, the fifth fell back. He then states that the 8th lost its colour , it is believed they had only thirty men left standing . I would b interested if anyone could reinforce these comments, as i know a bad tactical judgement from the prince of orange ordered ompteda to advance in line, the capture of such a colour would have faced less tactical difficulties than penetrating a square. I would be interested in deeper and if possible more exact disscusion on these points thank you john hennessy

john hennessy Inactive Member03 Aug 2005 3:08 p.m. PST

I have found two interesting snippits, which enforces the theory of colours being captured, and retaken during the rout. Ensign Von Mor of the 5th line carrying the kings colours was wounded and handed the colour to his sargeant, he was immediately killed by a french officer , the colour remained in french hands for some days before being recaptured by some hanovarian cavalry man.Luneburg light infantery temporarily lost the colour, when trying to reinforce La Haysante, this adds to the theory that colours were captured on the 18th and later recovered id love to hear you opinion on this john hennessy

john hennessy Inactive Member04 Aug 2005 7:31 p.m. PST

has anybody got photos of sibornes lesser model at the royal armouries is it possiable toto have them printed on this site thank you for your wonderful submissions

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2005 3:08 a.m. PST

Colours certainly were taken on the 18th. I don't think this was the result of squares breaking though. For instance, the one taken near LHS was advancing in line and was ridden don by Cuirassiers.


john hennessy Inactive Member05 Aug 2005 2:00 p.m. PST

It would be inresting to identify which colours were found in Caillou. I still beleive regimental histories do not submit the recoveries in the rout as a matter of pride. some squares i.e.the Luneberg were decimated by Cuirassiers they lost 45 precent casulaties between the 16th and 18th they state a temperery loss of thier colours. La chouque states [French version]the successive charges on halkett 69th elevan in all which made disperse under pressure athis piont he states six colours were carried off.hamilton- williams writting state after the recapure of the sand pit the Enniskillens formed square and recieved cannister from two directions supported by Imperial lancers. Lay dead in square and were over ran .he also states during this crisis the colours of the 73rd and30th were found heroily wrapped around thier sergents. thank you for your comments I still find the histroic writtings contradictory andcontraveral

john hennessy Inactive Member05 Aug 2005 11:50 p.m. PST

I have found an interesting artitcal by J Elting swords around a throne stating inthe french archives service history in acorrespondance between LeBrebvre to Droutot stating marchal de logis gauthier 10e cuirassairs and fourier Palau of 8e cuirassairs he also states Klienenberg of the Chasseur de laGaurd caputered colours he renstates the colours were left caillou .mr Etling saysthe colours were discoveredthere on june 26th MR Etling also states the 69th colours capured at Quatra Bras werequickly re made to appear on the 18th it all makes history intriging sombody please bring another piont to bare soon as I think this issue is obsessingme abit.

Allan F Mountford08 Aug 2005 5:04 a.m. PST

I briefly visited Leeds Armouries at the week-end and took dozens of photographs of the Siborne Model.

Here are a couple of samples. I need to process and tidy them up to eliminate the overhead lighting reflections.



Kevin F Kiley Inactive Member08 Aug 2005 5:52 a.m. PST

Regnault states that six allied colors were taken by French cavalry at Waterloo. They were later recovered as the French didn't take them with them when they went south. They were found in the farmhouse of Le Caillou.


Naponutz Inactive Member16 Aug 2005 11:54 p.m. PST

I have another comment regarding the woods around Hougoumont. According to French reports a new French magazine "Gloire & Empire" states that a large wood was in front of the farm and that the French were not aware of the existence of the Hougoumont farm. Only after the French invaded the woods they discovered that buildings (they called it a "chateau") were behind it. This could well be possible as, when visiting the battlefield you will notice that the farm is in some kind of dip in the terrain. If a large wood would have been south of it, it would well be shielded from sight. It was the reason why so many troops were commited to these woods for what was initially only meant to be a diversional attack. According to G&E the wood was rased in 1816. I wonder if the Siborne model shows these woods.

Allan F Mountford17 Aug 2005 6:53 a.m. PST

The Siborne model shows the woods.

There is an interesting theory that the French mis-read their maps, mistaking La Haye Sainte farm for Mont St Jean farm, assumed they were occupying the ridge actually occupied by the Allies and based their attack orders on an assault and occupation of Mont St Jean village (hence the part of the general orders that sappers were to occupy and fortify that village).

The theory has some credence since the French maps mistakenly place Mont St Jean farm on the west of the Brussels-Charleroi road when it is in fact on the east side.

Browse around this site for the offending maps.

Allan F Mountford17 Aug 2005 6:57 a.m. PST

Here is the precise link showing the offending maps:


john hennessy Inactive Member17 Aug 2005 9:40 p.m. PST

Soult campaigned around mont st jean in the ealier revolutinary wars of 1794 so had previous topgraphial knowledge of the area. Also foy and Rielle argued the power prince Jerome had being the Emperors brother over his demands for more troops in his obession with taking the chateau of Hougomount. Pires light cavarly would have reconed the area protecting the left flank .I beleive a diversionery attack made to weaken Wellingtons centre in a deguised attack on the allies supply route to ostend this theory is notsupported with the postitioning of the grande battery including imperial 12 pounders in the french centre andright and unpresadented massed formations of D'elron corps troops. To add to this I dont Decoster would have survied to write his memriores deyond midday if he tried to hide the exsists of a complex like Hougomount.In spite of this it is difficult to understand why so many troops were commited. But it is consistent with the use of failed un coorderated assults throughout the day as the tactial failure to use artillary on the ridge to the french left.

john hennessy Inactive Member18 Aug 2005 2:40 a.m. PST

On reading through a reference in David Hamilton williams Waterloo new perspectives he has an illstration of the maps used by Napoleon at waterloo made in1797 by Ferrasis&capitaine although the wooded area in front of Hougomount did not seemed to be indicated which could possably devolop in 18 years. But churchs were extemely important as references. Hougomount is indicated as a large struture[Chateau] with chapel.Napoleon and his staff had superme map reading and recon skills. The skimshing postitions of Wellingtons who Reille gave a lot of respect [caution] because of his experences in spain would also indacate afoward postition

MarescialloDiCampo31 Aug 2005 3:13 p.m. PST

There is a nice hand colored plate in a Waterloo book published 1815 that I can get scanned that is before the battle. It folds out about 2 feet…if anyone was interested.

Woodbinedrinker Inactive Member12 Nov 2005 8:07 a.m. PST

Excellent close up shots. Tremendous detail. I had previously only seen a black and white photo. The panorama shots left me underwhelmed, but close up there is great detail.
A couple of points:
Are the soldiers purposely dark and drab depicting campaign wear or is this paint fading over 100 plus years, or lighting?
The charging British Cavalry horses remind me of John Nibblet's (Airfix's early sculptor) American Indian charging horse-even the tail is the same. Perhaps he was inspired by the model or it's just artistic synergy?

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