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.
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.
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."
"What Higher Master than Honour? A History of the House of Bouillon-Cantinat"
St. Vignobles, 1902
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.
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.