Saturday 17 November 2012

SYW - Fitzjames' Horse

As a result of doing some family history research a few years ago I discovered that my paternal ancestors were prominent within the Irish Brigade of France (largely recruited from Irish Catholics and known as 'The Wild Geese') during the 18th century. Hence, since that time I've had a fascination with regiments within brigade.

I was always going to have at least one regiment from the brigade represented in my fledgling 28mm SYW French army, with Fitzjames' Horse being the first to get a coat or two of paint. The regiment was originally part of James II personal army that fought in the war against William of Orange in Ireland, before it was evacuated to France after James' defeat, although at that time is was known as Sheldon's Horse. It had the misfortune of being one of the most-destroyed regiments of the 18th century; it was decimated at Neerwinden (1692); badly mauled at Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet during the Marlburian Wars; captured during the '45 rebellion (1746); annihilated at Rossbach (1757), and completely eliminated at Wilhelmstahl (1762) during the Seven Years War. So, it's a well seasoned regiment....albeit, somewhat unlucky.

I've taken some artistic license in representing the trumpeter in my unit. It is recorded that the trumpeters in the regiment wore yellow coats (the colour of the Stuarts) along with the white and green lace of the Duke of Berwick (James Fitzjames) and his descendants. Berwick was the natural son of James II who became a marshal of France. I decided to add red cuffs to my trumpeter to give some continuity with the rest of the unit, although I've haven't found any evidence to suggest this occurred in history. I've also painted my regiment for the period of the 1740s so that it could be used in my 1745 Jacobite Rebellion project. In 1758 the regiment replaced it's felt cocked hats with grenadier-style bearskin hats.

The flag is one of the superb GMB flags made by Grahame Black, while the figures are Front Rank.

Fitzjames' Horse charging to destruction

I've also included a couple of snapshots of several Zulu War commanders that have been half painted for over 12 months and finally finished off last month. These are from the outstanding Empress Miniatures range. Unfortunately the close-up photos have exposed a need for a bit of touch-up paint work.