Sunday, May 9, 2010

Au service du Roi...

His Excellency, the 10th Marquis de Sangfroid, Comte de Roue and the Prince Ecclesiastical of the Bishopric of St. Vignobles.
This vignette is based on a written description of a painting by Édouard Detaille,  now believed to have been lost during the Second World War. 

M. le Marquis is portrayed on the morning of his great victory against the Imperial forces at the Battle of Chimay in 1745, where, after a bold river crossing at night with picked troops from L'armee de l'Oise, he turned the enemy's flank and forced them to abandon their attempt to reinforce the Allied army in Flanders.

The scene shows a scout from Sarkozy's Hussars, wearing the non- regulation mirliton that was becoming popular with officers of the regiment at this time, reporting the presence of the Imperial army to M. le Marquis. 

The Marquis is mounted on his famous dapple-grey steed, Seligenstadt, and is accompanied by his faithful personal escort, brigadier Jean-Claude Boulet of the Bauffremont Dragoon Regiment. 
Having saved the Marquis' life during the Battle of Dettingen, and having throughout the course of his service impressed his superiors with his temerity and resourcefulness, Boulet was duly promoted to brigadier and assigned to the Marquis' personal staff.  

He wears the uniform of his unit, but in splendid scarlet rather then cheap red broadcloth; it was awarded to him by a grateful Marquis to replace the uniform he lost while swimming the River Main in order to save his patron.
The Marquis himself wears the  dress uniform of the Chef of the Noble Volunteer Company of Vintners; a handsome velvet coat of deep rose, with richly embroidered gold trim.
Georges Debroullier had the following to say about the formation of the Noble Volunteer Company of Vintners, a company of guard cavalry serving with the King's Household. 

"This little-known but illustrious unit in the King's personal establishment was inextricably linked with the House of Bouillon-Cantinat.  Early in the reign of the Great Louis, during the troubled times of the Fronde in 1651, the young King was surprised by a patrol of enemy cavalry intent on taking him prisoner. 

Fortunately for His Majesty, Guillaume-Baptiste Bonhomie de Bouillon-Cantinat, the 7th Marquis de Sangfroid, was with the King's party.  He had been been given charge of supervising French wine production and distribution, and was with the King at the time in connection with the discharge of these duties. 

Upon seeing the threat to His Serene Highness' person, the 7th Marquis sprang into action, and immediately called upon his officials and their pages to arm themselves and to mount their horses to deal with the threat.  They then rode out at once to take on the enemy, successfully thwarting their plans to take the King captive.

A grateful monarch then created the Noble Volunteer Vintner Company of the King's Household in honour of their service, and made the  Marquis de Sangfroid hereditary Chef of the company in perpetuity, granting in addition an annual pension of 6000 Louis' d'or."

M. Georges du P. Debroullier;
"What Higher Master than Honour? A History of the House of Bouillon-Cantinat"
Pierre Declat & Cie.
St. Vignobles, 1902

I haven't posted here in a long time, but I hope this one makes up for it in terms of eye candy at least.  

I spent a considerable amount of time on the miniature for the Marquis.  It is a simple casting, the  Marquis de Montcalm figure from Front Rank's French-Indian war range.  No conversions or alteration, but it represents what I feel is the pinnacle of my painting efforts in the 35 years I've been in the hobby, and I'm not embarrassed to say I'm extremely proud of him.  

I'm not happy with the photos; despite tweaking on iPhoto the reds did not come out very well.  The red of the dragoon uniform in particular appears very "washed out", and in reality is a very rich, intense red.  I may try taking pictures in better light tomorrow and see how they turn out.

But in all, not bad for an "overfed gargoyle", as some vocal critics like to dismiss Front Rank's SYW range.

Our club here has been focusing on WW2 miniatures gaming for a while, with Napoleonics in the pipeline for the future.  This means that much of my time available for wargaming has  been spent on these armies.  Unfortunately, there has not yet been much groundswell of interest in the 18th. C as far as I can ascertain.    

But even if other gamers here don't seem to have much interest in the period,  I certainly do.  And receiving this excellent book three weeks ago inspired me to take out my figures and get back to work on them, somewhere in between Soviet artillery pieces and French Napoleonic voltigeurs.

I keep reminding myself that this will be a case of "build it and they will come", so I will continue to plod away at painting up L'armee de l'Oise and its foes.   

If I am to get anywhere with this project I cannot afford to fall into the trap of trying to put as much detail into the rank and file as I have been able to on the noble Marquis, but seeing what Phil Olley has been able to achieve with his splendid collection of Front Rank miniatures as seen in Wargaming in History inspires me to keep going.


Der Alte Fritz said...

We have missed your contributions to the blogosphere of late, so it is good to see you back. Very nice paint work and basing on your vignette. Keep at it because it looks very nice.

abdul666 said...

So good to have you back!
And an excellent vignette indeed.

Will you regale us with the standard of the Noble Volunteer Company of Vintners? Is one of David's templates suitable for its uniform?


Bluebear Jeff said...

Welcome back, sir . . . and thank you for sharing not only the vignette, but its history.

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

An excellent return! :)
I love the vignette - you are right to be proud of it - and the history!

Capt Bill said...

Glad your back!!! I always enjoy your updates. Thanks...

Docsmith said...

Robert - you sir are indeed a man of many talents! Great little blog, beautiful figures & vignette. If you like Grant & Olley's book you'll love Olley's 'Breitenfeld Blog' - v. inspirational.

I must post my Hessian grenadier artwork on the blog for you.

Great stuff.