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Thread: A nice military painting

  1. #1

    A nice military painting featuring mam

    Some images of an oil painting of an NCO with his mameluke hilted sword: http://www1.snapfish.com/slideshow/A...41515_38959393 , http://www1.snapfish.com/slideshow/A...41515_38959393

    Edit: Let me know if the links do not work, or if snapfish requires you to register, and I will move the images to a yahoo album.
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 08-09-2006 at 02:09 PM.

  2. #2
    I decided to make a yahoo album anyhow. There is an additional shot of the medals he is wearing. Any ideas regarding country or branch of service or date?

    Link to Yahoo! album: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/jgiles...?.dir=/f546re2

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by J.G. Hopkins
    I decided to make a yahoo album anyhow. There is an additional shot of the medals he is wearing. Any ideas regarding country or branch of service or date?

    Link to Yahoo! album: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/jgiles...?.dir=/f546re2
    The left-hand medal is British: it's the Crimea Medal (1854) with three clasps; the right-hand one is the Turkish Crimea Medal (1855), awarded by the Sultan to troops of the three Allied armies (British, French, Sardinian); the middle one I don't recognise, but the eagle looks French, which would make sense when combined with the other two.

    So this would date from after 1854/5. The Crimea Medal was only awarded to British troops, so he's British.

    Hope this helps,

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  4. #4
    John,
    Thank you for your input. I did not know about the medals, but he looked like he was from the 1850s to me. With a sword like that would he have been a lancer?

  5. #5
    Originally posted by J.G. Hopkins
    John,
    Thank you for your input. I did not know about the medals, but he looked like he was from the 1850s to me. With a sword like that would he have been a lancer?
    Yes it looks like the officer's dress mameluke used by the light cavalry at that period, so probably a presentation piece since the crown and chevrons show he's a colour sergeant.
    It looks a bit like the 15th Hussars mameluke.
    Last edited by David Critchley; 08-09-2006 at 11:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    The middle medal is the French Medaille Militaire, 1853-1870 issue, and it would have been awarded to French, British and others as a result of the Crimean War.

    The Crimea medal (first medal) is British but was awarded to French troops as well. As noted already, your photo shows a sergeant (3 stripes) and the helmet plate looks to be British. You might be able to see his regiment number on the helmet plate.

    The pattern of sword would not match up with his rank and the comment about it being a presentation piece might be linked to his award of the Medaille Militaire.

    Michael

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by M. Tweel
    The Crimea medal (first medal) is British but was awarded to French troops as well.
    Thanks for that, Michael - I hadn't realised the Crimea Medal was awarded to soldiers in the other Allied armies. Do you know if non-British recipients would also be awarded clasps?

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  8. #8
    This is really fantastic information--thanks, everyone. My father is an antiques dealer, and he has had several painitngs of British officers throughout the years, but they are usually non-descript and rather uninteresting (with the exception of one that featured religious symbolism in the background). This NCO is quite interesting since his medals show him to be a veteran of the Crimean, and because of his mameluke sword. I will try to find out if there is a number on the badge on the shako. I hope my father keeps this one!

  9. #9
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    A nifty painting it is. Another grand thing of this vintage collecting relm is the different avenues of interest it can lead to and inspire.

    Cool stuff,

    Bill

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    I wonder how many Crimean Regiments had blue uniforms with red facings?

    I wonder if you could identify this man. The Medaille Militaire was given pretty sparingly. If there is still a registry- which I suspect there is- and you could track down the regiment, it's possible. I suspect that there were only one or two presented to soldiers in each regiment.

    If you CAN identify it, that certainly would increase its value- imagine if it turns out to be a light brigade charger! Also, the family, if you could trace them, might want great grandfather's picture, as might his regimental museum
    hc3

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by hc bright
    I wonder how many Crimean Regiments had blue uniforms with red facings?
    The following are the only candidates in the 1889 Army List (a bit late, I know):

    12th Lancers - "Uniform, Blue; facings & plume, scarlet"

    There are other units with blue uniforms and scarlet plumes, but facings aren't mentioned, so I take them to be the same as the uniform.

    The 12th were certainly in the Crimea, as one of their battle honours is "Sevastopol".

    That would seem to fit with the alleged Lancers tag?

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  12. #12
    Originally posted by hc bright
    I wonder how many Crimean Regiments had blue uniforms with red facings?

    I wonder if you could identify this man. The Medaille Militaire was given pretty sparingly. If there is still a registry- which I suspect there is- and you could track down the regiment, it's possible. I suspect that there were only one or two presented to soldiers in each regiment.

    If you CAN identify it, that certainly would increase its value- imagine if it turns out to be a light brigade charger! Also, the family, if you could trace them, might want great grandfather's picture, as might his regimental museum
    I am certainly going to look into who he might be.

  13. #13
    Originally posted by John Hart
    The following are the only candidates in the 1889 Army List (a bit late, I know):

    12th Lancers - "Uniform, Blue; facings & plume, scarlet"

    There are other units with blue uniforms and scarlet plumes, but facings aren't mentioned, so I take them to be the same as the uniform.

    The 12th were certainly in the Crimea, as one of their battle honours is "Sevastopol".

    That would seem to fit with the alleged Lancers tag?

    John
    John,
    Thanks for the info on the 12th. The mameluke made me think lancers, not any knowledge of uniform. My only resource on uniforms is the Fosten & Fosten book The Thin Red Line, and that does not depict any cavalry or lancer uniforms from the 1850s.

  14. #14
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    John:

    Crimea medals issued to French troops are found with "unofficial" clasps for Traktir, Mamelon Vert, Malakoff, Mer d'Azoff and Kinburn as well as the usual "British" clasps. I have seen references to French examples with all 4 British clasps and a few "unofficial" French clasps.

    Michael
    Last edited by M. Tweel; 08-10-2006 at 04:23 PM.

  15. #15
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    Jonathan, I have asked some medal collectors for comments. If the regiment can be identified, the listing of French MM winners might list a few sergeants (hopefully, just one) and this might narrow down the field for you.
    Michael

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    It might be that he is now out of the regular army and in a militia unit. Could this explain the use of this pattern sword. Also, the sword might have been a painter's prop.

    The listing of cavalry I found at the Crimea War Research site is as follows. I have added the Helmet Plume colours based on info from JS Farmer's Regimental Records 1901.

    Household Cavalry Regiment (ex 1D) - Helmet Plume Black
    The Queen's Dragoon Guards (ex 1DG) -Helmet Plume Red
    The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (ex 6DG [Plume White] /2D [Plume White])
    The Royal Dragoon Guards (ex 4DG[Plume White] /5DG[Plume Red & White] /6D [Plume White])
    9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) (ex 12L Plume Scarlett)
    The King's Royal Hussars (ex 10H Plume Black & White])
    The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish) (ex 4LD Plume Scarlett /8H Plume Red & White)
    The King's Royal Hussars (ex 11H Plume Crimson & White)
    The Light Dragoons (ex 13H Plume White)
    The Queen's Royal Lancers (ex 17L Plume White)

    Assuming the red/scarlett colour in the painting is accurate and he is in a regular army uniform, it seems based on plume he has to be 1st Dragoon Guards (Scarlet Uniform, Blue Facings), 12th Lancers (Blue Uniform, Scarlett Facings, or 4th Light Dragoons (Blue Uniform, Scarlett Facings).

    So, my guess is 4th Light Dragoons. He is wearing a 3 clasp medal (likely Alma Balaklava and Sebastopol) and I do not believe the 12th Lancers were in the charge of the light brigade, so the clasps count would not seem to be right.

    Michael
    Last edited by M. Tweel; 08-10-2006 at 05:32 PM.

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    For ease of reference.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  18. #18
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    Sergeants of the 4th Light Dragoons

    I found a list of the 4th Light Dragoons and below is an edited list of Sergeants (might not be complete):


    SURNAME FORENAMES RANK
    BAKER J G Sergeant
    BARKER John Sergeant
    BUTLER Thomas Sergeant
    CAMPBELL Edward Sergeant
    CLARK John Regimental Sergeant Major
    DIVANE William Sergeant
    FARMER William Sergeant
    FOWLER William Troop Sergeant Major
    GALE James G. Sergeant
    HARROLD Thomas Sergeant Trumpeter, Trumpeter-Major
    HERBERT FrankTroop Sergeant Major
    HOUSTON Charles [Nathaniel?]Armourer Sergeant
    HOWES John Sergeant
    JENNINGS Henry Regimental Sergeant Major
    KELLY James William Troop Sergeant Major
    LAY James Sergeant
    LYNCH Richard Sergeant
    McVEAGH John Hospital Sergeant
    OCKFORD Samuel Troop Sergeant Major
    POINTER George Sergeant
    REDDING Edward Sergeant
    REILLY John Regimental Sergeant Major
    SHORT Frederick Sergeant
    SMITH Alexander [Oliver?]Saddler Sergeant
    STRATHERS Robert Troop Sergeant Major
    THOMAS William Sergeant
    THORPE W. H. Troop Sergeant Major
    WATERSON William Troop Sergeant Major
    WATSON William Sergeant

    Source: Extracted from Honour the Light Brigade
    by Canon William Murrell Lummis M.C.
    Edited, arranged and additional material supplied by Kenneth G. Wynn
    Pub. J. B. Hayward and Son, London, 1973.

    If someone has access to the French MM awards listing or the London Gazette, you might be able to reduce this list down to a few men.

    Michael

  19. #19
    Michael,
    I appreciate your efforts to help identify the man in the painting. Thank you.

    I am wondering who would have paid for such a portrait to be made? It seems unlikely (although not impossible) that a man from the ranks could afford to commission a painting. If the sword is not a painter's prop and is indeed a presentation saber, the painting might be part and parcel of the celebration of a hero of the Crimean War. I wonder where his sword (if it's his) and his medals now reside...

    Added: There is no number on the shako plate.
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 08-10-2006 at 06:10 PM.

  20. #20
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    Jonathan:

    I just looked at a Crimean Fenton photo of some 4th LD officers and they have the 1821 pattern sword. The more I think about it, I am wondering if the sword does relate to the French MM award and the painting flows from the same event.

    I am not able to go any further on this one so hopefully someone has access to the London Gazette online and can track down the awards of this medal for the 4th LD.

    Michael

  21. #21
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    Is that a cavalry cap? It looks like an infantry style to me, but I am no expert. Also of course the painting could post date the Crimea, but not by much considering his age.

    I think the French Musee de l'Armee would be a good starting point. My understanding is that the Medaille Militaire is for non commissioned soldiers or General officers only, but that might be a newer qualification.

    M. Binck should weigh in shortly...
    hc3

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    French Medaille Militaire Crimea

    Again from the Crimean War Research site: "A complete list of British recipients, together with citations for the award, was published in "Medals of the British Army" by Thomas Carter, London, 1861, and most recently reprinted (without citations) in "British Battles and Medals" by Joslin, Lithland and Simpkin, London, 1988".

  23. #23
    I just requested "British Battles and Medals" by Joslin, Lithland and Simpkin, London, 1988 via interlibrary loan. It may be a while before it arrives, but I'll keep you all posted. Thank you for your enthusiastic and helpful responses.

    Regarding the shako, the The Thin Red Line by Fosten and Fosten, there are light dragoons c.1854 wearing shakos. Upon close inspection, this book does depict a private from the 4th Light Dragoons, and the uniform is much more conservative looking. The possibility that this is a yeoman regiment uniform seems plausible. I would like to find out more about the decoration on the cross guard on his sword. I came across a mameluke sword in Harvey's latest book that is Turkish and has a crescent on the cross guard. It is dated to c.1900, but it has made me wonder if the mameluke hilt has some sort of tie-in with the medal from the Sultan. Lots of unfounded speculation from me tonight!
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 08-10-2006 at 08:02 PM.

  24. #24
    I was able to get ahold of the previous owner and this is the information she had been given:

    "Portrait of a Band Sergeant, possibly Rifle Regiment, seated half length, wearing uniform and holding a mameluke hilted sword. The medals are The Crimea Medal with three bars for Alma, Inkerman and Sebastopol, and the Turkish Crimea Medal. Original frame."

    I wonder how a band sergeant came by the (from what hear) rare French medal?

    Added: Earlier in the thread David (I think) mentioned that our man is a colour sergeant, and I am inclined to agree. I have found that the 3 chevrons with crown indicates staff sergeant/colour sergeant in the present day.

    What do you think about the possible rifes attribution?
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 08-11-2006 at 09:49 AM.

  25. #25
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    Bandsmen fought too, and were often stretcher bearers. Of coutse he might have been a corporal or private in the war, and transferred. I hadn't even thought of it being a band master's sword, but then I'm not musical....
    hc3

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