Monday 30 June 2008

Donnington Miniatures Wars of Louis XIV figures

Most of the figures for the late 17th century are pretty old, with very few new ranges in recent times presumably reflecting a lack of interest from the consumer (he says gloomily). I'm glad to see the Donnington Miniatures 15mm figs are still available though. They have their own charm and the range coupled with late 17thc and others is pretty comprehensive covering most troop types in various poses. Review soon

Johan Philip Lemke

If you like battle paintings of obscure wars of the late 17th century then you have come to the right place. These two examples from Johan Philip Lemke are from the Scanian War - the battle of Tirups Head and Malmo - both need careful examining - the Tirups Head picture has some interesting views of the baggage train - a surprisingly popular theme for the corners or edges of an illustrious battle painting. Wikimedia Scanian Wars.

Sunday 29 June 2008

Battle of Fehrbellin 1675

Yesterday was the anniversary of this battle between the Brandenburgers and the Swedish army. Wiki on the battle here

French classical helmet of the 1660s and 70s

Details of paintings of the siege of Tournai and Maastricht showing the 'classical' helmet worn by only some French pikemen - Swiss, guards, etc. - I have never seen an example of this helmet other than in contemporary pictures - I wonder if any exist in a museum somewhere?

Saturday 28 June 2008

Siege of Maastricht 1673

A siege involving the great Vauban, the Duke of Monmouth, and the death of D'Artagnan is of course something there is a lot of celebratory paintings - and I intend to put them all up in the course of time as it's a key event of the time. Siege of Maastricht wiki.
The above two close-up images are details from Jan Wyck's portrait of the Duke of Monmouth. The battle picture is thought to depict Monmouth at the same siege by Wyck again - a print is available from Bridgeman art.

Matchlock musket

This site The late 17th century French matchlock musket (mousquet à mêche) 1660-1700 in New-France is excellent on the subject - primarily dealing with New France but also covering all manner of late 17th century artefacts.

Van der Meulen Man With a Musket c1667 and cavalier

You are going to see a lot of this artist's work on this site.

Friday 27 June 2008

Phillips Norton 1685

Today is the anniversary of this battle - more a skirmish - in the Monmouth Rebellion. An event of local significance if only a sideshow on the international stage the result of this battle was a draw with both sides forced to abandon the fight due to heavy rain.

Figures in the background (1674)

We are pretty lucky in that this period has been well documented pictorially - Louis XIV made sure his victories were immortalised - but how much can be gleaned from these pictures? My idea is to do a series of close-ups of the figures in the background - they are often shadowed in the gloom but they certainly give a flavour of the time. This one is a close-up of part of the siege of Besancon in 1674 by Van der Meulen.

Artwork by Francis Back

One of the best artists to portray French troops of the age of the Sun King is Canadian Francis Back. Here are some of his reconstructions for Parks Canada of the Carignan Salieres regiment.
His work is probably familiar from the Osprey he did with Rene Chartrand.
Louis XIV's Army (Men-at-Arms 203)

Drummer of the Carignan Salieres regiment by Michel Petard.

French troops of the mid 1670s

Two fairly famous studies from Louis de Gaya's 1678 Traité des Armes, de machines de guerre, des feux d'artifice, des enseignes & des instrumens militaires anciens & modernes; avec la maniere dont on s'en sert presentement dans les armées, tant françoises qu'etrangeres . . .. These plates presumably by depict French soldiers of the Franco-Dutch War period and their arms. Note the simple classical hilt of the infantryman's sword.

Restoration Foot Guards

Detail from a painting in Roxburgh castle that shows Charles II and his court at Horse Guards parade. Not sure of the date...1670s I think...

Thursday 26 June 2008

Le Roi Danse - Lully biopic

Excellent sequence from the Lully biopic Le Roi Danse - 'the King is Dancing'. Wikipedia article on the movie

Wars of Louis XIV figures

The 1660s and 70s, known as the Restoration over here, is not a popular period for wargaming - so I am thrilled to see Irregular Miniatures have done some figures in the 54mm scale - I shall have to buy some. Finding out about the War of Devolution or the Franco-Dutch war is not easy... if I find anything out I'll let you know.
I would like to see these figures expand into the era of the Scanian War - the Danish and Swedish troops could double up as Dutch.

Siege of Tournai Van der Meulen

Here's a lovely image of Louis XIV visiting the siege lines at Tournai 21st June 1667 (artist Van der Meulen) in the War of Devolution between Holland and France. Shows the multicoloured and varied look of the French army at that time. The reclining Swiss pikeman in red in the foreground is replaced in other editions of this picture by a bale of hay - presumably his posture wasn't right for a visit from the King. I sympathise with this fellow as I am the sort of person who gets regularly airbrushed out of history because of slouching... These early wars of Louis XIV are unusual in that they have the English fighting alongside the French.

Siege of Graves 1674

Been revisiting my pike and shot past and musing on things and found myself looking on the web for material for the Franco-Dutch war and found this image of the Siege of Graves 1674 which I cropped to more easily see the details.

Pikeman c1671

Detail from J Meunincxhove 'Charles II and James Duke of York in the Gardens of the guild of Sainte Barbe'. Interesting to see a pikeman of this time complete with sash.
This look is from about the same time as this line drawing from Allain M. Mallett's Les travaux de Mars (1672). Pikes and matchlock muskets were in a 2 muskets to 1 pike ratio at this time.