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Open Book Napoleon's Imperial Guard: Uniforms and Equipment: The Cavalry

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by Chrisr, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Chrisr PlanetFigure Supporter

    Napoleon's Imperial Guard: Uniforms and Equipment: The Cavalry. Paul L Dawson. Frontline Books, Yorkshire-Philadelphia, 2019
    This is a companion volume to Dawsons' Napoleon's Imperial Guard: Uniforms and Equipment: The Infantry, and like that book it fails to deliver a comprehensive study of the uniforms worn and equipment carried by the various regiments of the Imperial Guard cavalry. However, the abundant colour photographs of original uniforms, samples of near contemporary swatches of colour dyes, headdress and items of equipment, together with colour contemporary prints of uniforms worn by many of the regiments are excellent.

    The initial chapter on the administration of the regiment, which is mainly concerned with the cloth and colours used in the uniforms, contains twelve useful colour photographs of various dyes used taken from swatches dated to the early 1820's, and we learn that Aurora was actually a dark shade of orange yellow, Chamois was a darker brownish yellow than usually seen in paintings, and that Napoleon's famous grey great coat was not grey, but a very fine quality beige.

    Then follow fifteen chapters addressing each of the Guard cavalry regiments, including the Mamelukes, the Lithuanian Lancers, Tartars, the Horse Artillery, Artillery Train, Equipment Train, Gendarmes d'Ordonnance, attached regiments and finally the Royal Corps of Cavalry. Like its infantry companion volume, the chapters primarily comprise tables of clothing and equipment held at a particular time, or lists of clothing purchased by the regiment committee during various periods, including the lengths of cloth, numbers of plumes, waist belts, spurs boots headdress etc and their cost. Interspersed with these are discussions on various items of uniform and equipment worn at different times, and while some of these are quite detailed, the reader never gets a complete description of the full uniform. There is no common structure to the chapters and the narrative can be quite disjointed in discussing what was worn and when, being interspersed with other matters associated with a particular regiments, such as its staff structure or brief biographies of certain personalities and soldiers.

    What is especially good about the book is its many colour photographs of original items of uniforms, headdress and weapons and equipment, together with contemporary prints exhibiting the uniforms worn at certain periods which provide the reader with an impression of what a unit's uniform looked like.

    Overall, however, it is disappointing, and while some will be satisfied delving into certain minutiae, it is unlikely to appeal to most lay readers and figure painters..

    Manfred, Jimmy S, NeilW and 2 others like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Chris

    Thanks it's all about the colour in this and the Infantry book..too many tables and lists !

    Happy picture looking

  3. Gary_81 Active Member

    A really good review Chris. As someone who has collected a few books on Napoleonic uniforms I'm always on the look out for others I might want to add to my collection.
    This will probably be one I pass on but it was interesting the positive points you made regarding the books content on uniform colours, that would certainly be worth a look at.

  4. NeilW A Fixture


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