Saturday, 14 February 2009

Laroon's Meldert Redcoat 1707

Detail from Execution of deserters at Meldert Camp 1707. This rare study of a Marlburian redcoat on campaign drawn from life is quite shocking in a way. The clothes look shabby and not well tailored at all, looking quite shrunken and skimpy with the coat's skirts way above the knees. A sword slit seems to be part of the design of the coat of the figure in the foreground and the deserter. All in all these figures seem to be far removed from the image of the Marlburian soldier we have come to expect to see (mainly from the celebratory tapestries and paintings commissioned in the years after the events).

1 comment:

Corporal_Trim said...

Ah, but the shabbiness is realisistic, don't you think ? Think of pictures of Vietnam or the Falklands, and then imagine how it must have been 300 years ago, after a season of rough campaigning in sodden Flanders.

I'll bet those once-pristine red coats were muddy and faded. And my personal recollection is shades of color variation within the same platoon despite everyone being equipped the same. Start out dark green, faded by the hot sun, throw in some crude Vietnamese laundering and a patina of reddish dust and there you go.

Check out Watteau's three military paintings, Portal of Valenciennes, Camp Volant and Alte (the Rest). Quite unglamorous !