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"SYW Austrian Dragoon coat color question" Topic

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18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2022 1:11 p.m. PST

I am comparing my Men-at-Arms booklet on SYW Austrian cav (#271) and Dr. Summerfield's booklet, Austrian Light Cav & Staff 1740-1765. In the Men-at-Arms booklet is says that the Lichtenstein (#6) dragoon coat was either a dark blue or violet in color. In the Dr. Summerfield's booklet, it only says dark blue. So, my question is, did this regiment potentially have a coat color of violet? Could this have been only for a certain period of time, say early in the 18th century or should it just be considered as dark blue for the whole SYW period?

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2022 1:32 p.m. PST

No violet coats, mate. The main sources listed on Kronoskaf ( link ) (Albertina Handschrift, Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, Brauer's and Donath's plates) all show dark blue.

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2022 5:12 a.m. PST

Interesting to wonder where the violet came from. I've never seen faded dark blue that has gone down the violet route which would be the apparently obvious possibility.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2022 10:06 a.m. PST

I have two sources that say dark blue- I wonder if Mark's idea about fading might account for the violet thing

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2022 12:08 p.m. PST

Kronoskaf and Summerfield are both good and reputable sources. I 'd trust them more than the Osprey books. Nothing against Osprey, it's just that most of their SYW uniform books were written a long, long, long time ago and new information might have surfaced in the intervening years.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2022 2:01 p.m. PST

Der Alte Fritz, I agree with you, I only wanted to check what was in the Osprey booklet by Haythornthwaite. Normally I trust what Philip has to say on a topic which is why I posted my question.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2022 3:41 p.m. PST

Interesting to wonder where the violet came from.

Probably from one of the uniform manuscript copies or plates, Mark. Phil Haythornthwaite has probably taken notes from an old plate and recorded the colour he saw on that plate. The acid present in the paper of the 1700's can lead to some interesting colour shifts after 200+ years and the paint (pigments and binders) itself degenerates.

We spent a lot of time comparing the photos I took of the Delacre Bilderhandschrift plates, taking spot colour samples to get a mean RGB average from some plates, because colours had shifted on a plate. And our results are still "best guesses". The plate for the Baaden-Baaden Infantry shows an extreme example. The trousers and turnbacks are a blotchy, dark plum colour but should be the same dark blue colour as the cuffs and waistcoat (which themselves have darkened). The artist had obviously mixed a new batch of blue, because a couple of other plates after the Baaden-Baaden plate showed the same effect- had the painter mixed a bad batch of blue paint? Another example is where the turnbacks on the Bethlen Infantry plate are green, but the dolman, trousers and cuffs are olive brown. Was the brown a bad batch of green? In the end we went with the colours on the plate because there is so much contradictory information on that regiment and Delacre supposedly painted the uniforms as worn by soldiers of each regiment (ie the manuscript was for Daun and he was able to get soldiers to pose for him) in 1754-57.

PS The Delacre plate for the Botta Infantry shows dark violet facings on a uniform that almost certainly had blue facings.

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2022 2:39 a.m. PST

@ Dal

Makes sense, I know nothing about fading paint, but it's bound to happen and I think we all know from trying to make our own colour blends with acrylics how hard repetition is.

Frostie24 Dec 2022 12:27 a.m. PST

I second Kronoskaf, my go to resource

StillSenneffe29 Dec 2022 6:40 a.m. PST

The first time I saw the reference for blue or violet coats for the Lichtenstein Dragoons was in the appendix to Duffy's 'Army of Maria Theresa'. This also references blue or purple coats for the Batthyany Dragoons. No indication from whence Duffy got that information originally.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2023 2:26 a.m. PST

StillSenneffe, probably from old, original uniform plates. Duffy would have had access the Albertina and Delacre manuscripts in the HGM and would have made notes of the colours he saw on the plates. My notes on the Delacre mention purple, dark blood red, bright scarlet/orange, olive brown, etc, because that's what the colour looks like. Spot samples of the colours in Corel and other evidence based on Delacre, old portraits, etc, cleared up a lot of, not all, colour confusion.

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