Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Subdeacon Joe

Colorized Photographs of a Very Few of Napoleon's Soldiers

Recommended Posts

What is surprising to me is how good those uniforms look in those black and white pictures after the years they must have been stored.

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/07/30/the-only-surviving-images-of-veterans-of-the-napoleonic-wars-now-in-hd-color/

 

When we thought about how awesome it would be to see the only surviving photos of brave veterans who fought in the Napoleonic Wars with a bit of a “Technicolor flair,”  we contacted him to add some of his fairy dust. Turns out, Loughrey had already done it. That’s how good he is.

Just like us, Loughrey thought it would be awesome to transform the only photos we have of Grande Armée veterans in their elaborate uniforms, adorned with medals of honor, in bright, vivid color.

Grenadier Burg, 24th Regiment of the Guard, 1815

"Colorization has fast become a means to which I can balance art with history. Color brings out detail that hides in monochrome imagery, more is revealed to the observer.. For a few hours I am the only person in the world that can see these people as they were, it's humbling and educational" explains Matt for the project. Source Brown University Library

Original photo Brown University Library.

 

 

Colorized by Matt Loughrey

Colorized by Matt Loughrey.

Monsieur Ducel, Mameluke de la Garde, 1813-1815

 

Colorized by Matt Loughrey

Colorized by Matt Loughrey.

In his military career, Napoleon Bonaparte fought around 60 battles and lost only seven, mostly at the end of his reign. The great French dominion collapsed rapidly after his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon was defeated at Paris in 1814, and sent into exile on the island of Elba; he then escaped and returned to power, only to be finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled again, this time to Saint Helena.

After his death in 1821, the surviving veterans of the Grande Armée honored his name and his great leadership. Every year on May 5, the anniversary of Napoleon’s death, veterans dressed in their uniforms and marched to Paris’s Place Vendôme to pay homage to the fallen emperor. On one of those occasions, probably in 1858, the following photos were taken.

Monsieur Dupont, Fourier for the 1st Hussar

Monsieur Dupont, Fourier for the 1st Hussar Source Brown University Library

Monsieur Dupont, Fourier for the 1st Hussar. Source Brown University Library.

All the men in the photographs were in their 70s or 80s at the time. They are wearing the Saint Helena medal, issued in 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the revolution.

Monsieur Moret of the 2nd Regiment 1814 15 Source Brown University Library

The identity of the photographer of the original images is still unknown. Many of the photos are slightly blurred, indicating that the former soldiers may have found it difficult to remain still for several seconds while the plates were exposed.

Loughrey, however, with an astounding technique has embellished the blurred parts and has brought a refreshing and interesting perspective to the images. The strong tones that the artist has used give a special effect and highlight the legacy of the former soldiers who fought alongside Napoleon.

 

Colorized by Matt Loughrey

 

Sergeant Taria, Grenadiere de la Garde 1809-1815

Sergeant Taria Grenadiere de la Garde 1809-1815.Photo Source Brown University Library

Original photo Source Brown University Library

 

Colorized by Matt Loughrey

Colorized photo by Matt Loughrey/My Colorful Past.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice!

it makes you wonder what it would be like to know what these men are thinking.

 

Cat Brules

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Cat Brules said:

it makes you wonder what it would be like to know what these men are thinking.


“Ha! I told you I could still fit in my old uniform!!”  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  Knowing less than nothing about this I have to ask, were these decorative or show or parade type uniforms or did they actually go to battle/fight dressed like this back then?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dantankerous said:

  Knowing less than nothing about this I have to ask, were these decorative or show or parade type uniforms or did they actually go to battle/fight dressed like this back then?

 

 

 

They fought in them.  Different colors of facings, different colors of plume and cockades, etc. were identifiers for different regiments.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/4/2020 at 10:57 AM, Subdeacon Joe said:

 

They fought in them.  Different colors of facings, different colors of plume and cockades, etc. were identifiers for different regiments.  

 

 

On 2/4/2020 at 9:17 AM, Dantankerous said:

  Knowing less than nothing about this I have to ask, were these decorative or show or parade type uniforms or did they actually go to battle/fight dressed like this back then?

 

 

 

Expanding on my previous answer, the color pattern of the plumes could be used to distinguish NCOs from privates, and junior officers from NCOs. On shakos the leather reinforcing bands could be colored to distinguish NCOs from privates.
The cuff and lapel facings told of different regiments, 
Examples here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniforms_of_La_Grande_Armée
http://www.napoleonguide.com/infantry_ukcol1.htm

 

image.jpeg.f99a22310c9db175bf829e8708e0973e.jpeg

 

Image result for French Napoleonic NCO

 

Image result for French Napoleonic NCO

 

We still see this in various European Household Guard regiments, the most famous of which are the English Household Regiments.  And vestiges in the US Army, with blue for infantry, yellow for cavalry, and red for artillery.  

When control by Mk. I eyeball visual clues were important.

A good movie for showing uniforms, I think, is "The Duelists

 

 





 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How could I forget this?

We also see a vestige in the USMC officers cap:


Image result for usmc officers service cap
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.