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    Avatar photoOotKust

    We come across a lot of material of all kinds being offered and sold/ traded when doing research, and sometimes it can be a very rewarding experience.
    We all know about the hard-core militaria shops and resellers, but places like auctioneers (as below) these days are receiving more and more privately held material become public.

    Take for example this nice example of period artwork:-

    Soldats français devant une forteresse
    (Französische Soldaten vor einer Festung)
    Wilhelm von Kobell
    1803  ·  Federzeichnung  ·  ID de la peinture: 689508

    An acknowledged artist of the era Kobell made many sketches, drawings and eventual lithographic depictions of both French and ‘Germanic’ subjects.

    Many, like this one, provide answers and may help ‘fill in the blanks’ about what we know. Given he has status, his eyewitness accounts (aka drawn from life in many translations) are to be taken seriously of instances, if not generalities, of specific uniforms and accoutrements.

    So ‘French Soldiers in front of a fortress’ shows such an example- not a hussar but Artillerie Volanté, or Horse Artillery gunner in detail (look at his cartouche- and sabretache, round base, crossed canons), and a couple of fusiliers.

    The riders horses- he’s holding a second, are interesting with sheepskins but no schabraques visible- the square valises AND round portmanteau etc.

    The fusilier, or is he a carabinier?, in blue trousers, is both interesting for his dress and confusing.

    I’ve blown this up and the appearance of his chapeau being worn backwards, above is a short scarlet plume, and the presence of a red dragonne or sword knot, yet no epaulettes. The loose gilet a manche (sleeved waistcoat) has collar and cuff flaps however, in red.

    Even the depiction of his knapsack, typical rust-brown cowskin, but a large and probably rolled coat- a habit or capote, covered within the knapsack flap itself.


    You see what I mean about the valise AND portmanteau! Most peculiar arrangement; perhaps normal for mounted artillery?

    Anyway thats a start,
    regards davew

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    Kobell was, first and foremost, a landscape artist. His sketches, aquatints and etchings were in the style of earlier Dutch artists.

    Approach with caution.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoOotKust

    Kobell was, first and foremost, a landscape artist. His sketches, aquatints and etchings were in the style of earlier Dutch artists. Approach with caution.

    Thanks. Yes I knew he had a wider stride than just military- but I’ve seen no criticism that his humans are less than realistic.

    I may have misinterpreted the pictures details- the round garment on top of the valise may well be a rolled capote* or manteau of course, in a bag as those ends are definitely ‘taped’, just larger than life perhaps?

    And I didn’t mention the shako  red flamme and right-hand-side plume also known, from other artwork. Makes a unique twist on artillery as well.

    The rest of his attire is pretty ‘as expected’- wearing a braided dolman, all the lace/ piping; overalls WITH coloured double width side stripe, and a round curved bottom sabretache. If I could be bothered I may even be able to identify the sabre~ possibly the ‘revised’ 1791 pattern IIRC.

    The overalls again contrary to ‘opinion’ that they were introduced during the Empire period, when in fact smart military men were wearing them the decade prior at least. So expecting in 1803 to see such uniform features, left overs from the prior wars, only to be expected until worn out.

    I quite like the painted scene- seaside or lake I can’t say, as for the fortification, can’t place that either. Clearly, despite wearing ‘black’ neckstocks, they aren’t in an active combat zone!

    *PLD recently highlighted that the ‘Otto MS’ illustrations actually show this garment much smaller than it actually was, or could be, given its materiel and construction.

    cheers d

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