Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A Lancerette for Weinachten - 1761

Giselle loved the feel of the oriental silk against her skin….. Count Gregorius of Grunburg had spared no expense in getting his Viennese tailors to design this lancer uniform,which he had told her was based on the Prussian Bosniak lancers he had seen when the Grunburg contingent fought at the Battle of Zorndorf.  To model it for his pleasure was the least she could do in return for the extravagant diamond necklace he had bought her for Weinachten……..

For those who need a reminder about Giselle's past role as a Hussarette please see The Count's Christmas Treat 1760

An Imagi-Nation's year later, amazingly, Giselle is still in favour at Schloss Grunburg, and evidently Sir Joshua Gregg RA has made another sojourn in her company to paint an intimate portrait. He has called this one 
"Giselle and the Bosniak shirt - Weinachten 1761". But she is now a "Lancerette" complete with oriental style sabre and a custom-sized lance. Add the flamboyant plumed turban and the dazzling oversized diamond necklace and these will make her stand out at the Elektor of Reikland's New Year masquerade no doubt......And of course heighten Count Gregorius' status in the eyes of his rivals for the Elektorship.

For this year's Christmas card, which I hope many of my readers, clients and wargaming associates will have by now received in the post, I wanted to keep the red and white theme and of course something Seven Years War appropriate.

Available on line (Pinterest if I recall) are contemporary prints of Bosniak Lancers in the service of Prussia, and since Count Gregorius of Grunburg can sell his services to any of the German speaking monarchs, this fitted my purpose. With his apparently bottomless purse, fed by wine exports from the Grunburg vineyards, our hero likes to spend freely on new uniform designs, jewellery and women. And then hire a notable English artist to paint them!

Looking through my archives of reference photos I found this one of Ella looking, at the same time self-satisfied but also a bit quizzical, and it was a quick transition to imagine her in the basics of the Bosniak uniform. You can see my first outline sketch on the canvas. Main change is the baggy trousers instead of boots but they are pretty cool I think.

 Applying thin layers of acrylic paint it began to come together. Calling on my ill-spent youth in the antique trade it was not difficult to conjure up a design for a full length adjustable mirror stand. No doubt Count Gregorius would have been keen to acquire some of Mr Thomas Chippendale's carved furniture for Schloss Grunburg, and that is a faint hint at a young Robert Adam console in the background.

Now putting more depth of red and a few shadows

The navel in this pose is particularly cute and often the military costume seems to cover it in my paintings, so that was a small bonus.

Lots more detail now. In particular having to make a credible attempt at Bosnian style lace - this is only 7 inches by 5 inches so not as challenging as painting a 28mm figure! Also I try to put the young lady's name in the picture somewhere and that wash bowl seemed a good idea.

 The final effect in close up. This segment is 2 inches x 2.75 inches so please forgive the imperfections seen at this range.

As usual I have painted the sides of the canvas  and for this one gloss varnished the whole, and strung the back so it is ready for hanging.  I'm pleased to say 2017 has been a very good year for the Hussarette genre, I've added 6 to the list and am up to Nr 19 now, and I got a commission for another yesterday. So if anyone fancies working with me to acquire a customised 2-dimensional military lady please get in touch Chris Gregg.  This small painting of Giselle is available at a mere £40 plus postage so email me if you are interested,

Meanwhile Happy Christmas and a Great New Year to all my readers, and particularly to those who comment, have signed up to Follow or for email notification, it is appreciated.


  1. Thank you and to you too, good luck with your excellent photography

  2. Always enjoy work in progress photos. A striking uniform!

    1. Thank you Legatus and I knew you, more than most, would appreciate it! Plan is to try to convert and paint a dozen 28mm figures to give Count Gregorius his lancer regiment.