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Identifying the Soldier in this minature painting

Identifying the Soldier in this minature painting

I bought a minature painting in a wooden / gilt frame. The portrait is signed Lila Sampson. Inside the frame was another miniature painting of a man in uniform. I am trying to find out more about both paintings. I would like to know if anyone could help to idenitfy the regiment of the soldier or any information about either painting. Lila Sampson was born in Derbyshire SAMPSON Lila fl. 1904-1922 She was a Portrait painter who lived in Tibshelf, Derbyshire and exhibited many works ar the Nottingham Castle Museum and also showed at the RA. [minature 01

Here is the minature that was dislpayed in the frame, the painting of the soldier was found when I opened the frame.


The regiment is identified by the collar badge. This soldier was a member of the Devonshire Regiment

The Devonshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army which served under various titles and served in many wars and conflicts from 1685 to 1958, such as the Second Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War.


I could say also that the soldier obvious has the rank of ____ due to my deep knowledge of British army rank insignia.

That would be a lie.

But cheating by looking at the Wikipedia article on British army rank insignia I deduce that he was probably a lieutenant in the period 1800 to 1902 or second lieutenant after 1902. The golden thread "things" on his shoulders each have two metallic appearing objects. The ones closest to his neck don't matter since they are part of all rank insignia. The ones farthest from his neck are probably "Bath stars".

In the period 1880 to 1902 a lieutenant's rank insignia was one Bath star, and after 1902 a second lieutenants' rank insignia is one Bath star.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Army_officer_rank_insignia1

Since Lila Sampson is said to have flourished as a portrait painter from 1904 to 1922, this is probably a second lieutenant from 1904-1922.

I believe that in this period there would be about one or two second lieutenants per company in this period, eight companies per battalion, and usually two battalions per regiment, and thus about 16 or 32 second lieutenants per regiment. They might serve for a couple of years before being promoted, so in the 18 years of Lila Sampson's career there might have been 144 or 288 second lieutenants in the Devonshire regiment.

During World War One the Devonshire Regiment expanded to a total of 29 battalions. I don't know how many of the hundreds of new second lieutenants during the war would have had red full dress uniforms like the one in the portrait.


How Holbein left clever clue in portrait to identify Henry VIII’s queen

Created in around 1540 by Hans Holbein, court painter to Henry VIII and one of the greatest portraitists of all time, the miniature is a prized treasure in the Royal Collection. But the sitter is unknown, with the artefact long catalogued merely as “Portrait of a Lady, perhaps Catherine Howard”, Henry VIII’s fifth queen.

Now, as a result of fresh research, she has been given a new identity: that of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Art historian Franny Moyle has amassed evidence to show that this is the face of the noblewoman whom the king married in 1540 to form a political alliance.

Moyle believes that Holbein left a tantalising clue in mounting the miniature (a watercolour on vellum) on a particular playing-card – the four of diamonds – which could signify the fourth queen.

She told the Observer Holbein layered his work with symbols and conceits and was more likely to have chosen a card that would have “made someone smile”. “These little miniatures were mounted on playing cards. Holbein didn’t do anything without meaning something. For example, he put the ace of spades on the back of the miniature of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s principal advisor, which seems pretty pertinent for a man who would call a spade a spade. That Erasmus had coined that very phrase might not have been lost on either of the men. Holbein’s portrait of the Lord Chancellor’s wife, Elizabeth Audley, is mounted on the ace of hearts, as a new bride. So the four of diamonds is arguably significant. I would have been quite miffed if it had been the three of hearts.”

Henry VIII said of Holbein’s 1539 portrait of Anne of Cleves that he was ‘not pleased with her in that German dress’. Photograph: incamerastock/Alamy

Anne’s wedding took place days after she arrived in England to meet her fiancé for the first time, only for him to be disappointed and to have the marriage annulled after six months, having turned his attentions to her attendant, Catherine Howard.

The miniature has been linked to Catherine, partly because it dates from 1540, the year in which she, too, married Henry, and because the sitter is adorned with jewels that are comparable to items in her inventory. She appears to be wearing a pendant that once belonged to Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour. The Royal Collection’s cataloguing also notes that Jane made gifts of her jewellery to her ladies-in-waiting and that the features of one of them, Mary, Lady Monteagle, in a Holbein drawing in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, bear some resemblance to the present sitter.

Noting that the sitter’s dress suggests high status, Moyle said: “When Henry got rid of one wife, he was in the habit of handing down their belongings to their successors. So the argument of it being Jane Seymour’s jewellery applies equally to identify Anne of Cleves.”

Moyle observed that Anne was in her mid-to-late 20s at her marriage, while Catherine was a teenager. “This portrait doesn’t look like a child bride,” she said.

Crucially, she was struck by the sitter’s uncanny likeness to Holbein’s 1539 portrait of Anne, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, with both featuring distinctive heavy eyelids and thick eyebrows. “They’re the same woman. She has this soporific expression in both paintings.”

Holbein was first despatched to paint Anne in 1539, capturing the likeness of a potential new bride for Henry. Instantly, their marriage was in trouble. Henry told his close counsel that he found her unattractive. To the English eye, her attire looked peculiar. One contemporary observed that, when Henry saw Anne, “he was not pleased with her in that German dress”.

Moyle speculates that Holbein painted her shortly afterwards again because Anne wanted to be seen anew, with a different attire, including a so-called French hood then fashionable in England. It was more revealing than the heavy-veiled Germanic look. She said: “So I think there’s a good reason why, in early 1540 she – or Thomas Cromwell, perhaps, who was very pro the marriage – might suggest Holbein paint her again so that, in the little miniature that Henry had in his pocket, he could see a version of Anne that was more appealing.”

Part of the problem is that there is no authentic contemporary likeness of Catherine, who was condemned for adultery, and whose portraits would have been quickly disposed of, if they ever existed.

Moyle said: “Catherine was cited as ‘young and fresh’ and a ‘ravishing beauty’. Conceptions of beauty to one side, it’s hard to apply either of these descriptions to this miniature. Anne was ‘of medium beauty’, as described by the French ambassador.”

The Royal Collection declined to comment.

Moyle’s research will feature in her new book The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein, to be published by Head of Zeus on 27 May.


The twelve months or Barahmasa correspond to the length of a year which is a span of time. During these months various seasons happen in nature. Human activities change and so does the scenery with its various elements, the sky, birds, water bodies, animals and vegetation. The various months are Chaitra (March-April). starting in the spring season. The following months are Vaishakha(April-May), Jyestha (May-June, Asadha (June-July), Sravana(July-August), Bhadon (August-September), Ashvin (September-October), Kartikka (October-November), Margasirsa (November-December), Pausa(December-January), Magha ( January-February) and Phalguna (February-March).

The folio from a Hindu calendar, Vikram Samvat is seen below. The left column shows the ten avatars of Vishnu, the center-right column shows the twelve signs of the Hindu zodiac. Top middle panel shows Ganesha with two consorts. The second panel shows Krishna with two consorts. The seasons are well recognized and has been depicted in all forms in India’s art and literature and it’s overall cultural landscape. Poetry, painting and sculpture have awesome portrayals and descriptions of the seasons. Seasons in India are part of her ethos and life. Festivals are also celebrated in connections with seasons. The Barahmasa is a genre of poetry, a concept to which there have been many contributions. Indian paintings have been closely associated with literature. Many important literary works right from ancient times have been depicted in art and sculpture. The Jataka tales have been depicted in many Buddhist sites of India.

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Hindu calendar/almanac corresponding to Western years 1871-1872, Rajasthan.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Coming to the subject at hand, this theme has been depicted mostly from late medieval period. An Indian treatise Chitrasutra composed by Vishnudhrmaottara, sometime during the interval of the Kushana and Gupta times has a set of guidelines on how the seasons are to be depicted in art. Painters have followed the guidelines in ancient and medieval India.

The Barahmasawas popular in Hindi literature during 13th to 16th centuries and also was a part of Sufi poetry. However, Barahmasain miniature paintings were mostly done or executed in the 17th and 18th centuries. The paintings had writings in Devanagari on top or behind the painting. Many royal courts had their own painters and ateliers. This theme has not found much favour with Mughal miniatures and Deccani painting though nature by itself has been a subject of composition in these schools. Many animal and bird portraitures have been made in the Mughal paintings the Deccani schools depict clouds, ponds and lotuses.

The Rajasthani painting evolved in the courts of Rajputana. They were done in the mniature format. and also on walls of havelis(mansions), palaces and inner chambers of forts. The pigmetns were derived from minerals,plants, conches and precious stones too ! Gold and silver were used at places. The paintings depicted avrious themes from the social viewpoint, also stories form the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Nature was depicted too’ these paintings were representative of a rulers legacy. The Rajasthani school has many sub-schools. like Jaipur,Bikaner, Bundi, Kota, Mewar. Alwar and Jodhpur. The style of painting has been influenced by Persian, European, Mughal and Chinese art of painting.The paintings are rich, mostly due to the arid desert landscape, dry hills and less vegetation.

The Barahmasa theme has been depicted in Chamba, Garhwal, Guler, Kangra, Mandi and Nurpur schools from among the Pahari school. The Pahari schools developed in the hilly regions of North India during 17th to 19th century. From Jammu to Almora and Garhwal,Himachal Pradesh. the range is wide,varied and very interesting. Basohli school is from Jammu which is known for its bold colours. Kangra is famous for its Radha-Krishna depictions and its lyrical quality. being greatly inspired by Jayadeva’s Geeta-govinda. Central India has the Malwa, Datia and Bundelkhand schools.

The Chitrasutra as already mentioned has given guidelines for the seasons and they seem to be followed by artists across India. Summer is indicated by the sun in the sky, spring with its seasonal trees in bloom, humming bees,cuckoo depictions and men and women going around happily ! Further, summer depicts fatigue experienced by men,animals, dry pools,birds hiding in trees,lions and tigers resting in their mountainous hideouts. The rainy season has its dark, laden clouds and streaks of lightning in the sky. Autumn has trees full of fruits,corn ripe in the fields, pools full of swans and lotuses. The winter has its dew and fog, the earth is a bit bare and misty. Crows and elephants are joyous. There is snowfall in some places.

Depicted below are some Barahmasa paintings from different schools. The month of Chaitra is depicted with the seasonal trees in bloom and men and women joyous and in conversation. Birds and sarus cranes are seen in the background and where the lotuses are abounding in the pool nearby.

Chaitra (March-April), Barahmasa, Bundi, 1675-1700 A.D, British Museum,U.K.

The month of Jyeshtha is hot and humid, people are seen using hand fans reclining under shades and birds are hiding in the trees. The sun is scorching the earth and there is bright light around. Tree ahve shed their leaves due to the heat. The animals are resting in shade or retreating to the forest.

Jyestha (May-June). Barahmasa, Jaipur, 1800s, British Museum,U.K.

Jyestha (May-June), Folio from a Barahmasa, Uniara, Rajasthan, 1775, LACMA- public domain image.

The Asadha month is the pre-monsoon month and clouds are seen to start arriving in the sky with sporadic rain. In Shravan the sky gets laden with rain bearing clouds and the opens with lightning and thunder ! Peacocks are happiest during this time and dance to full glory with their splendorous tail spread out. Nature all around is green and verdant. Pangs of separation are felt more strongly in this season. Forlorn heroines are eager to meet their beloved !


How Holbein Left a Smart Clue in a Portrait to Identify the Queen of Henry VIII | History of art

Created around 1540 by Hans Holbein, Henry VIII’s court painter and one of the greatest portraitists of all time, the miniature is a treasured treasure in the Royal Collection. But the model is unknown, with the artifact long listed simply as “Portrait of a lady, perhaps Catherine Howard,” the fifth queen of Henry VIII.

Now, as a result of new research, he has been given a new identity: that of Anne de Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII. Art historian Franny Moyle has accumulated evidence to show that this is the face of the noblewoman the king married in 1540 to form a political alliance.

Moyle believes that Holbein left a tantalizing clue by mounting the miniature (a watercolor on vellum) on a particular card, the four of diamonds, which could signify the fourth queen.

She told the Observer Holbein overlaid his work with symbols and conceit and was more likely to have chosen a card that would have “made someone smile.” “These little miniatures were mounted on playing cards. Holbein did nothing without wanting to say something. For example, he put the ace of spades on the back of the miniature of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief adviser, which seems quite pertinent for a man who would call things by name. The fact that Erasmus had coined that very phrase was perhaps not lost on any of the men. Holbein’s portrait of the Lord Chancellor’s wife, Elizabeth Audley, is mounted on the ace of hearts, like a new bride. So the four of diamonds is possibly significant. I would have been quite upset if it had been the three of hearts. “

Anne’s wedding took place days after she arrived in England to meet her fiancé for the first time, only for him to be disappointed and the marriage was annulled after six months, having turned his attention to his assistant, Catherine Howard.

The miniature has been linked to Catherine, in part because it dates from 1540, the year she also married Enrique, and because the model is adorned with jewels comparable to items in her inventory. He appears to be wearing a pendant that belonged to Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour. The Royal Collection cataloging also indicates that Jane made gifts of her jewelery to her ladies in waiting and that the characteristics of one of them, Mary, Lady Monteagle, in a drawing by Holbein in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, bear a certain resemblance to the current nanny.

Moyle noted that the nanny’s dress suggests high status: “When Henry got rid of a wife, he was in the habit of handing over his belongings to his successors. So the argument that they are the jewels of Jane Seymour applies equally to identifying Anne of Cleves. “

Moyle noted that Anne was in her twenties when she married, while Catherine was a teenager. “This portrait doesn’t look like a child bride,” he said.

Fundamentally, he was struck by the uncanny resemblance of the model to the 1539 portrait of Anne de Holbein, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, with both characteristic thick eyelids and bushy eyebrows. “They are the same woman. He has this soporific expression in both paintings ”.

Holbein was first sent to paint Anne in 1539, capturing the image of a possible new bride for Henry. Instantly, their marriage was in trouble. Henry told his close attorney that he found her unattractive. To the English eye, her outfit seemed peculiar. A contemporary observed that, when Henry saw Anne, “he was not happy with her in that German dress.”

Moyle speculates that Holbein repainted her shortly after because Anne wanted to be seen again, in a different outfit, including the so-called French hood that was then in vogue in England. It was more revealing than the thickly veiled Germanic gaze. She said: “So I think there is a good reason why, in the early 1540s, she, or Thomas Cromwell, perhaps, who was very favorable to marriage, might suggest to Holbein that he paint her again so that, in The little miniature that Henry had in his pocket, he could see a version of Anne that was more attractive. “

Part of the problem is that there is no authentic contemporary image of Catherine, who was convicted of adultery, and whose portraits would have been quickly removed, if they ever existed.

Moyle said: “Catherine was cited as ‘young and fresh’ and a ‘ravishing beauty.’ Beauty concepts aside, it is difficult to apply any of these descriptions to this miniature. Anne was ‘of medium beauty’, as described by the French ambassador. “

The Royal Collection declined to comment.

Moyle’s research will appear in his new book. The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein, to be published by Head of Zeus on May 27.


My Ancient Musings

Hi there! I am in the process of going through this blog and editing it so it reads better (artist type not a writing type) but if you want to read it as is please feel free!

I am just getting time to start some new blogs and decided to jump away from historical beads for a bit and introduce you to a huge passion of mine. Miniature portrait art. I worked for many years as a miniature enameled portrait artist for the J.A. Dedouch company based out of Oak Park IL until the company was bought out and production ended forever. Naturally, portraiture in miniature is a big passion and interest of mine.

I have done a bit of research in the past on this subject back when I was painting miniatures full-time but honestly, if you read my blogs on this you are learning about this topic in more depth with me. As I learn more about its history by researching and reading a lot, networking, and processing that information, I will share that with you.

There are several books out there that catalog the miniatures but not very many that go into detail of the time period and history. With that in mind I am really thankful for one of the books I have called “The Portrait Miniature in England” by Katherine Cooms. This book came out a few years before I had stopped painting miniatures for a living. The amount of knowledge that is contained in these pages is vast. The other books I have listed at the bottom of this blog are also very wonderful to read and provide a lot of information as well. The book “Portrait Miniatures Artists Functions and Collections” goes into some detail about paint and techniques as well. If you are interested in pursuing this art. I highly recommend all of the books I have listed as they all have information that is on point to creating and learning about this art. As I find more books an resources I will share them as well.

I also reached out in the SCA as I was in search of a Laurel that does miniature portraiture in period. To be able to communicate with and get feedback on my work. I found the name Countess Enriqueta Isabel de Reyes y Mora OP, OL from The Kingdom of Trimaris. When I reached out I sadly discovered out that she has passed. Her handout she wrote is still available to purchase on Etsy. I am waiting for mine to come in the mail.

The complete history of miniature portraiture is very colorful and vast. More than this blog. Miniature portrait art spans centuries. Whether it be watercolor on parchment, oils on copper, or enameled portraits. The portraiture miniatures are still being made by a small handful of artists and religious icon miniatures are still produced to this day.

This blog is about the very beginnings of this art. I am currently painting miniature portraits for lockets using the same techniques as some of my favorite miniature artists did! It is very exciting! My art will be posted on part two of my blog. I wanted to give a little insight and history of this amazing art before I jumped in and started posting my paintings and how they were made as well as the special vocabulary that they had for limning portraits. I hope you enjoy my blog!

“Limning. A thing apart… which exelleth all other painting whatsoever”

NICHOLAS HILLIARD- THE ART OF LIMNING (c.1598)

This writing that was written by Nicholas Hilliard talks about two things regarding miniature painting. That What we modernly refer to as miniature portraits were called linmings in England during his time. It also shows that the art od miniature painting was a distinct type of art that was different than other paintings of the time.

The word miniature comes from the Latin “miniare” meaning to color with red lead. It was originally related to book production before the invention of the printing press. In England, the tiny illustrations of sacred books painted in watercolor on vellum, were called illuminations or limnings. Both terms derive from the latin word luminare, meaning to give light. It was not long after this that the term miniature came to express all things which are small, by the size of the limnings as well as a misleading link to the words incorporating the Latin “min” expressing smallness. such as “minor”.

One of the misconseptions of miniature painting was that it was only an English practice. Probably becasue most of the books that have been written on the subject are on the study of English portrait miniatures. In truth, here were many artists all across Europe who painted miniatures. The first English portrait miniatures painted at the court of Henry VIII (r. 1509-47) was most likely by an artist from the city of Ghent, in what is now Belgium. The first two noble practitioners of the portrait miniature were the German Hans Holbien (1497/8-1543), who worked for Henry VIII and Francis Clouet (1516-72) who worked for the French court.

After Clouet’s death in 1572 no artist with the same talent took his place, although limning continued to be painted in France. At the same time in England, during the same year that Clouet died, the 25-year-old Nicholas Hilliard had his first sitting with Queen Elisabeth I (r. 1558-1603) and started a very productive miniature painting career lasting over 40 years. Hilliard established limning as a leading and separate art and secured a place for miniature art at the heart of Elizabethan culture.

(Limning) excelleth all other painting whatsoever in sundry points… being fittest for the decking of princes’ bookes.. for the imitation of the purest flowers and most beautiful creatures in the finest and purest colours.. and is for the service of noble persons very meet, in small volumes, in private manner, for them to have the portraits and pictures of themselves, their peers, or any other foreign persons which are of interest of them.

NICHOLAS HILIARD – THE ART OF LIMNING (c.1598)

Limning, watercolor painting, was the subject of the first book on painting published in English. It is an anonymously written book that we know simply as Limning (1573) This book, however, was written soley on the subject of book decoration. Nicholas Hilliard’s book “The Art of Limning” was concerned with the limning of portraits, in small volumes, in private manner. What we today would describe as portrait miniatures. Hilliard was a very innovative artist who raised the public profile of the miniature portrait to a level where Shakespeare used them to plot his devices in his plays and John Donne wrote a poem praising Hilliards work.

“A hand or an eye by Hilliard is worth a history by a worse painter.” All of this word fame yet Hilliard is not the first person to paint the miniature portrait. The earliest surviving English portrait miniature is of Henry VIII, (see picture below) painted around 1526, almost 50 years before Hilliard painted his first miniature of Elisabeth I. (Coombs 1998)

Can you imagine the impact that the first miniature portrait had? Imagine living in a different visual world where we are not totally inundated with imagery. The printing press was introduced in England in 1453 but early English printed illustrations were rare and very crude compared to other countries.

When Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509 easel painting was also somewhat rare in England. An occasional painting was needed by royalty for marriage negotiations or contracts but on a whole, these were far from what we think of as having a likeness. Portraiture for the most part was confined to tomb sculpture of the super wealthy. Graphic arts, namely painting, drawing and printing, did not have a prominent role in English society until later in the century. (Coombs 1998)

At a time when most artists didn’t sign their work, their names and reputations as an artist have to come to us through other sources. To be able to identify the other artist that was working for Henry VIII before Holbein’s arrival, researchers had to scour all the documents of the time for a name to be the likely artist. This process is not as simple as it seems. Many collections and written documents are scattered and pieced together all over the globe in different collections. Grouping miniature portraits together by artists are done by comparing each miniature and looking for a similar painting style and techniques. “Style” is assessed by comparing the way each portrait is created and searching for what the portraits have in common, such as how the artist paints backgrounds, jewelry, lace, apparel even the way an eye or hair is formed. If common characteristics are found between the miniature paintings, then the “handwriting” of an artist can be determined. Because of this process we know about Lucas Hornbolte and the miniatures dating from the early part of King Henry VIII reign. (Coombs 1998)

Plate 4 Lucas Hornbolte, attributed to Henry VIII, c. 1524-6. Watercolor on vellum (53x48mm) This portrait portrays the king in his mid 30’s: in other versions he is shown with the beard that he grew in competition with Francis I of France. This miniature is the lynch pin of arguments identifying Lucas Hornbolte as the first painter of miniatures in England. (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, PD/ 19-1949 From The Portrait miniature in England, Katherine Cooms.

In 1948 the painting of Henry VIII was contributed to Lucas Hornbolte. The first clue was an early account that Hans Holbein, written in 1604 stated that Holbein was taught limning by “Master Lucas”. As more evidence appeared about an artist called Lucas Hornbolte, the possibility that “Master Lucas” was indeed Hornbolte suggested itself. In 1959 the first payment to Lucas Hornbolte was discovered in Henry VIII chamber accounts for September 1525. Because the inscription on the portrait of Henry VIII has the number 35, which is most likely the age of Henry when the portrait was painted, we know that the miniature dates between June, 1524 Henry’s 34th birthday and June 1526 his 36th birthday. The appearance of this first portrait and Lucas in the courts of Henry VIII could be coincidence but that has been deemed highly unlikey.

Lucas and his father and sister were all artists that lived in Ghent who came over to live in England in 1525. There is evidence of this in the accounts of Margaret of Austria for limning’s for a Book of Hours, which is now in the British Library. There is no written proof that Hornbolte and his family came to England to work as book limners. In Ghent, before they moved to England, Gerard, Lucas’ father was a master painter who ran a workshop which created a wide variety of work. In Henry’s written accounts Lucas is described as a “pictor maker” not a limner in contrast to another artist, Richard James, who is described as a “limner of Bookes”. Though some shadow of doubt can be cast around the name Lucas Hornbolte, there is much circumstantial evidence that can not be overlooked.

A possible link from text to portrait miniatures

For many centuries the art of limning was practiced in monasteries to create beautiful hand written books. By the late middle ages wealthy individuals commissioned limners to produce texts for their own private use or to give as a gift to a church. These texts often included a portrait of an institutions patron Saint. This new demand for painted text led to the creation of independent workshops. The separation of limning and books also seems to happen with the development of the printing press. This made books simpler to produce and the hand written texts kept as a luxury item. Some time after, workshops began to produce painted panels and wall hangings and the competition for work became fierce.

We also have this illustration from a Flemish artist from the Book of Hours showing a painting of a pendant of a miniature portrait of Christ from the 15th century. No portrait like images of Saints set in this way exist today, but there are pendants from Spain and Italy were limned religious scenes are protected under slivers of rock crystal. (Coombs 1998)

Anonymous Flemish artist, detail of the decorative border from the Book of Hours showing a pendant containing a miniature of Christ, 15th Century. Watercolor on Vellum. This illumination indicated that the use of limning to create small images in a jewel like setting possibly originated with small devotional images. From The Portrait miniature in England, Katherine Cooms.

Coins, Medals, Medallions and Cameos

There are three other traditions in this history that could suggest portraiture. There is the use of images on coins, medals and medallions, as well as the carved cameo. Most medallions and medals were heavy and placed in cabinets on display. They were probably not worn all the time. Coins were used for currency. The cameos were carved in relief and were usually made of semi precious stone. The cameo was also much smaller and jewel like which could suggest the desirability to wear it as a portraiture.

During the renaissance, the reawakening of human individuality and character which reached its highest expression in the portraits of Raphael, Antondello de Messina and Titian also reflected on images in a much smaller scale. These carved stone cameos and intaligos, portrait medals and miniatures painted on Vellum served various purposes. To glorify heads of State, to give as gifts as private tokens of love and friendship, as well as a symbol of wealth and power or allegiance to a peer. Whether hidden or openly displayed, they were worn as jewels and therefore were mounted in gold and gem encrusted frames.

The revival of the ancient art of gem engraving in relief as cameos or intaligos began in 15th century Italy where so many gems were being unearthed from Roman sites. These discoveries, as well as our humanist admiration for classical culture, created an emergence of new gem engravers not only in Rome but in Florence, Milan, Verona, and Padua. Soon this revived art attracted many others and the cameo became what it was in antiquity, portraits of people of power, wealth and influence. (2018) Bernd and Juliane Schmieglitz)

Gold Gnadenpfenning of Magdalena Sibylla of Saxony (1587-1639) bordered by ten shields of arms, suspended from three chains meeting at an armorial cartouche crowned by an electoral bonnet and hung with three pearl drops. Medal by Daniel Kellerthaler (1600-1656) and setting by Abraham Schwedler (active 1612-47) Dresden, 1611- the year of the ascension of Magdalena Sibylla’s husband, John Georg I, as elector. 111x53mm

Pendant with an onyx bust of Philip II, King of Spain (1527-98) The cameo is set in a gold frame with eight table cut diamonds alternating with raised quatrefoil and a pearl drop. Cameo, Italian. from the circle of Jacopo da Trezzo (c. 1515-89) setting in Spanish, c. 1560. 47mmx31mm

Sardonyx cameo bust of Philip II in armor, within a border outlined in black, the top and base marked by green leaves Cameo and settings c.1550-75 33x28mm

Three views of the Gresley Jewel. A gold locket with pearls containing miniatures of Sir Thomas Gresley (1522-1601) and his wife, Katherine Walsingham (1559-85) The pedimented cover is set with a sardonyx cameo of a black woman, veiled, an enameled frame embellished with rubies and emeralds, flanked by half figures of black boys emerging from cornucopia and firing arrows. The back is enameled with symmetrical ornament. Miniature portraits by Nicholas Hilliard and setting c.1574, the date of their Marriage. Height 69mm

Three views of the Greasley Jewel. A gold locket with pearls containing miniatures of Sir Thomas Gresley (1522-1601) and his wife, Katherine Walsingham (1559-85) The pedimented cover is set with a sardonyx cameo of a black woman, veiled, an enameled frame embellished with rubies and emeralds, flanked by half figures of black boys emerging from cornucopia and firing arrows. The back is enameled with symmetrical ornament. Miniature portraits by Nicholas Hilliard and setting c.1574, the date of their Marriage. Height 69mm

Three views of the Greasley Jewel. A gold locket with pearls containing miniatures of Sir Thomas Gresley (1522-1601) and his wife, Katherine Walsingham (1559-85) The pedimented cover is set with a sardonyx cameo of a black woman, veiled, an enameled frame embellished with rubies and emeralds, flanked by half figures of black boys emerging from cornucopia and firing arrows. The back is enameled with symmetrical ornament. Miniature portraits by Nicholas Hilliard and setting c.1574, the date of their Marriage. Height 69mm

Miniature Portrait Art Examples

Portrait miniatures first appeared in the early 1500’s in the French and English Courts. Much like medals, they were portable, but had realistic color, unlike the Cameos. The earliest examples were painted by two men from the Netherlands. They are Jean Clouet in France and Lucas Hornbolte in England. Following them was Hans Holbein the Younger who it is thought learned the art from Hornbolte. Not to be left out is Levina Teerlinc , a Flemish born female artist whom many scholars believe taught Hilliard the art of limning. Nicholas Hilliard is known for painting Queen Elisabeth I . Lastly there is Francois Clouet the Younger, Jean Clouet’s son. There were several other miniature portrait artists as well, but I chose these because of their impact on the art form, and by how much their art inspires me.

Jean Clouet 1475 / 85-1541

The life of this portraitist is very poorly known. The available information comes from royal accounts and various documents of a legal nature (notarial deeds) or of civil status (parish registers). Jean (Janet or Jehannet) Clouet was probably born in Brussels between 1475 and 1485. He comes from a family of painters: His grandfather is the painter and illuminator Simon Marmion (1425-1489). His brother, Polet or Paulet, was a painter at the court of Navarre.

The details of his training is unknown but it is obviously familiar with Flemish painting of the 15 th century. Most historians believe that upon his arrival in France, he entered directly in the service of Francis I (1494-1547). Indeed, there is no work of Clouet previous to the reign of this king, who reaches the throne of France in 1515.

Jean Clouet is regularly mentioned in the records of the royal accounts for twenty years after the coronation of Francis I st . While his main role is to be the portraitist of the royal family, he initially occupied the official function of valet wardrobe, allowing him to be paid. Then the king creates the category of painters to which the artist is attached.

Jean Clouet. Portrait of Francis I st (1525-1530) Oil on wood, 96 × 74 cm, Louvre Museum, Paris.

Jean Clouet. Portrait of Jean de Dinteville, Lord of Polisy (v. 1533) Paper, black and bloodstone, 25 × 19 cm, musée Condé, Chantilly.

Lucas Hornebolte

Often called Hornebolte in England (c.1490/1495–1544), was a Flemish artist who moved to England in the mid-1520s and worked there as “King’s Painter” and court miniaturist to King Henry VIII from 1525 until his death. He was trained in the final phase of Netherlandish illuminated manuscript painting, in which his father Gerard was an important figure, and was the founding painter of the long and distinct English tradition of portrait miniature painting.

Lucas Hornebolte. The Emperor Charles V. c. 1525 Watercolor on Vellum (dia. 42mm) Charles V was the nephew of Catherine of Aragon and undoubtedly made her a gift of his portrait. The oil, of which the portrait is a copy was listed in Henry VIII’s 1542 inventory and is still in the Royal collection today.

Hans Holbein the Younger

Holbein was born in Augsburg, but he worked mainly in Basel as a young artist. At first, he painted murals and religious works, designed stained glass windows, and printed books. He also painted an occasional portrait, making his international mark with portraits of humanist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. When the Reformation reached Basel, Holbein worked for reformist clients while continuing to serve traditional religious patrons. His Late Gothic style was enriched by artistic trends in Italy, France, and the Netherlands, as well as by Renaissance humanism. The result was a combined aesthetic uniquely his own.

Holbein travelled to England in 1526 in search of work, with a recommendation from Erasmus. He was welcomed into the humanist circle of Thomas More, where he quickly built a high reputation. He returned to Basel for four years, then resumed his career in England in 1532 under the patronage of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. By 1535, he was King’s Painter to Henry VIII of England. In this role, he produced portraits and festive decorations, as well as designs for jewellery, plate, and other precious objects. His portraits of the royal family and nobles are a record of the court in the years when Henry was asserting his supremacy over the Church of England.

Anne of Cleves. Miniature by Hans Holbein 1539. Watercolor on vellum with turned ivory base and lid. (dia. 44.5mm)

Artist, Hans Holbein, Mrs. Jane Small, formerly known as a portrait of Mrs. Robert Pemberton. c. 1540 watercolor on vellum. (dia. 52mm) later frame. The wife of a rich London merchant, Jane Small lived in the same parish as the steelyard merchants. Holbein had painted this before he was employed by the King.

François Clouet

(c. 1510 – 22 December 1572), son of Jean Clouet, was a French Renaissance miniaturist and painter, particularly known for his detailed portraits of the French ruling family.

Gold locket and miniature of Catherine de Medicis, Dowager, Queen of France, in her widow’s weeds. miniature attributed to Francois Clouet the Younger. 1572

Levina Teerlinc

(1510s – 23 June 1576) was a Flemish Renaissance miniaturist who served as a painter to the English court of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. She was the most important miniaturist at the English court between Hans Holbein the Younger and Nicholas Hilliard. Her father, Simon Bening was a renowned book illuminator and miniature painter of the Ghent-Bruges school and probably trained her as a manuscript painter. She may have worked in her father’s workshop before her marriage.

Portrait of Elizabeth I by Levina Teerlinc, c. 1565

Nicholas Hilliard

c. 1547 – 7 January 1619) was an English goldsmith and limner best known for his portrait miniatures of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I of England. He mostly painted small oval miniatures, but also some larger cabinet miniatures, up to about ten inches tall, and at least two famous half-length panel portraits of Elizabeth. He enjoyed continuing success as an artist, and continuing financial troubles, for forty-five years. His paintings still exemplify the visual image of Elizabethan England, very different from that of most of Europe in the late sixteenth century. Technically he was very conservative by European standards, but his paintings are superbly executed and have a freshness and charm that has ensured his continuing reputation as “the central artistic figure of the Elizabethan age, the only English painter whose work reflects, in its delicate microcosm, the world of Shakespeare’s earlier plays.

Inside of The Drake Jewel. The locket encloses miniatures of Queen Elisabeth- surrounded by a ruby border and her emblem, the phoenix. The cover is set with a sardonyx cameo of a black ruler and his consort, within an enamelled and chased gold frame embellished with table-cut rubies and diamonds and hung with pearls. The jewel was presented by the Queen to Sir Francis Drake. Miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard. 1588. Setting contemporary. Height is 117mm

The Drake Jewel. The locket encloses miniatures of Queen Elisabeth- surrounded by a ruby border and her emblem, the phoenix. The cover is set with a sardonyx cameo of a black ruler and his consort, within an enamelled and chased gold frame embellished with table-cut rubies and diamonds and hung with pearls. The jewel was presented by the Queen to Sir Francis Drake. Miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard. 1588. Setting contemporary. Height is 117mm

Three views of a case and the miniature that it encloses of Queen Elisabeth as Stella Britannis, the star of Britain. The openwork cover is set with table-cut diamonds centered on a star. the back is enameled black with multicolored symmetrical ornament of leaves and dolphins. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard. c. 1600: setting contemporary. 64x48mm

Three views of a case and the miniature that it encloses of Queen Elisabeth as Stella Britannis, the star of Britain. The openwork cover is set with table-cut diamonds centered on a star. the back is enameled black with multicolored symmetrical ornament of leaves and dolphins. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard. c. 1600: setting contemporary. 64x48mm

Three views of a case and the miniature that it encloses of Queen Elisabeth as Stella Britannis, the star of Britain. The openwork cover is set with table-cut diamonds centered on a star. the back is enameled black with multicolored symmetrical ornament of leaves and dolphins. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard. c. 1600: setting contemporary. 64x48mm

Two views of an enameled gold case enclosing a miniature of Queen Anne (d. 1608) Wife of James I of England and Ireland and Scotland, presented to her by Lady Anne Livingston, Countess of Eglington. The front cover has the diamond cipher CAR flanked by fermesses, between a royal crown and double Cs, with four diamonds in quatrefoil settings. Miniature from the circle of Nicolas Hilliard. 1610 Setting by George Heriot (1573-1623) of Edinburgh. Height 76mm

Two views of an enameled gold case enclosing a miniature of Queen Anne (d. 1608) Wife of James I of England and Ireland and Scotland, presented to her by Lady Anne Livingston, Countess of Eglington. The front cover has the diamond cipher CAR flanked by fermesses, between a royal crown and double Cs, with four diamonds in quatrefoil settings. Miniature from the circle of Nicolas Hilliard. 1610 Setting by George Heriot (1573-1623) of Edinburgh. Height 76mm

Pendant enclosing a miniature of George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland ( 1558-1605), within a black and white zig zag border, edged with three pearls. The back is patterned with gold interlaced strapwork with blue details on a gold background. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard, 1589. setting contemporary c. 47x38mm

Pendant enclosing a miniature of George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland ( 1558-1605), within a black and white zig zag border, edged with three pearls. The back is patterned with gold interlaced strapwork with blue details on a gold background. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard, 1589. setting contemporary c. 47x38mm

Sources of Information and photographs

Miniatures: Dictionary and Guide (1987) Daphne Foskett

British Portrait Miniatures (1968) Daphne Foskett

British Portrait Miniatures: The Cleveland Museum of Art (2013) Cory Korkow

Portrait Jewels Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs (2011) Diana Scarisbrick

The Portrait Miniature in England (1998) Catherine Coombs

Portrait Miniatures Artists, Functions and Collections The Tansey miniatures foundation (2018) Bernd and Juliane Schmieglitz


1970s Britains Deetail Army Figurines

On the other side of the pond and nearly 30 years after its American counterpart, Britains Deetail broke onto the scene in the 1970s with colorful soldiers like the one pictured above, following the trend potentially started by Marx and MPC Plastics' army men listed above.

Though not considered antiques—which technically only includes items made before the 1970s—these toys became a smash hit in the United Kingdom in tandem with Britains Deetail beginning production of animal and civilian figurine production.

Sets like the mounted horses were popular with young and old alike for their realistic impressions of soldiers in the heat of battle, and the coloring and detail were much more refined than their predecessors, leading to a new way of figurine collection.

Unfortunately, since Britains Deetail is not considered vintage (yet), they do not maintain much value today and a full set of these pieces can be acquired on Etsy for a reasonable fee.


Identifying the Soldier in this minature painting - History

"American history in miniature"

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Military Miniatures Warehouse specializes in the sale of historical miniature figures. Our main focus is on American history.

Our kit products come from manufacturers all over the world and are typically made of white metal (pewter, metal alloys, etc.), or resin. Most figures require some assembly, and are unpainted. Painted figures are also available (see below).

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William Britain Toy Soldier - Collection

With more than 100 years of experience, the Wm.Britain name has earned legendary status by producing the most finely detailed and historically accurate lead-free pewter toy soldiers in the industry. William Britain Jr., an English toymaker, began producing toy soldiers in 1893. Today, Wm.Britain is recognized as the world leader in metal soldiers. From 15th Century knights to 20th Century soldiers, the assortment represents the most expansive in the industry.
Our toy soldiers are typically 1/32 scale. This is also as 54mm. Which means a standing toy soldier is approximately 2.5 inches tall.

On the 8th of June 793, Viking long ships appeared off the Northeast coast of England in Northumberland to raid the abbey on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. In a short period of time, the abbey and surrounding village was destroyed with many of the Monks falling victim to the "wolves from the sea." Those that were not killed were carried away as slaves along with the church treasures.

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American Civil War - Updated June 15, 2021!

Between 1861 and 1865, the greatest of wars between the Napoleonic War, and the First World War was fought. This outstanding series of figures represents the Leaders and Soldiers who fought on both sides in this historic conflict.

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The American Revolution Series depicts some of the most consequential events and most significant characters that shaped this dramatic period in American History.

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The new for 2008 Archive Collection, offers faithful reproductions of W. Britain figures made in the early 1900s. Each set is reproduced faithfully down to the shades of paint, style of painting and even the classic burgundy Britain's half box with figures tied in.

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The Ceremonial Collection and Trooping the Color a splendidly colorful range, continues to conjure up images of the ceremonies and traditions which are synonymous with London.

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A new series based on classic toy soldiers, charting the history of the British Army (Redcoats) from the 1600's and the US Army from 1700's (Bluecoats) and just added the French & Indian War.

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Clash of Empires - Updated June 15, 2021!

The conflicts of the 1750s and 60s became known as the French & Indian Wars in North America and the Seven Years War in Europe. A short period of peace gave way to revolution and the emergence of the United States in the 1770s and 80s.

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Dirty Shirt Blue - Updated June 15, 2021!

The first figures in the new series! It will focus on the people and events of the American West from 1860s to 1890s.

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Featuring the Buildings, Scenery and accessories from Britain's. Ideal for use in any diorama.

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In October 1903, Mortimer Menpes published a book entitled Durbar, which not only told the tale of his attending the Durbar but illustrated it in painstaking detail. From the pages of this wonderful book and the photographs of Gertrude Bell comes the inspiration for the new Durbar range by W. Britain.

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Limited Edition Sets - Updated January 3, 2021!

Limited edition Napoleonic Military Band Sets and a World War One British Field Artillery set.
Each set includes a serialized limited edition certificate.

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Includes the Knights of Agincourt, Tournament Knights and Knights of the Round table collections.

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Museum Collection - Updated June 15, 2021!

The Museum Collection is a new series of matte finish figures The series begins with a collection of one of the most famous regiments in British military history, the Black Watch or 42nd Royal Highland Regiment.
Just added the United States Marine Corps with a new history of the USMC.

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Napoleonic Collection - Updated May 15, 2021!

Waterloo and the Battle of Hougoumont, 1815.

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In 1881, Mohammed Ahmed, a Sudanese Islamic prophet, had declared himself the "Mahdi" or "Guided One" and launched a desert revolt with the intent of removing all foreigners from the Sudan. By 1884 the Mahdi and his forces had laid siege to the largest foreign outpost in the Sudan, Khartoum. British Major General Charles "Chinese" Gordon had been given the task of evacuating the city but delayed too long and was trapped in the city.

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New series for 2006 and 2007, featuring the heroes from the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny.

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This outstanding set of miniatures depicting scenes, figures and vehicles carefully researched to provide an historical view of the World War I era.

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World War II - Updated June 15, 2021!

These skillfully crafted 1:32 scale pewter sculptures reflect the pride with which American, British and German soldiers of WWII fought for their countries.


Mughal painting

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Mughal painting, Mughal also spelled Mogul, style of painting, confined mainly to book illustration and the production of individual miniatures, that evolved in India during the reigns of the Mughal emperors (16th–18th century). In its initial phases it showed some indebtedness to the Ṣafavid school of Persian painting but rapidly moved away from Persian ideals. Probably the earliest example of Mughal painting is the illustrated folktale Tuti-nameh (“Tales of a Parrot”) at the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art.

Mughal painting was essentially a court art it developed under the patronage of the ruling Mughal emperors and began to decline when the rulers lost interest. The subjects treated were generally secular, consisting of illustrations to historical works and Persian and Indian literature, portraits of the emperor and his court, studies of natural life, and genre scenes.

The school had its beginnings during the reign of the emperor Humāyūn (1530–40 and 1555–56), who invited two Persian artists, Mīr Sayyid ʿAlī and Khwāja ʿAbd al-Ṣamad, to join him in India. The earliest and most important undertaking of the school was a series of large miniatures of the Dāstān-e Amīr Ḥamzeh, undertaken during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605), which, when completed, numbered some 1,400 illustrations of an unusually large size (22 by 28 inches [56 by 71 cm]). Of the 200 or so that have survived, the largest number are in the Austrian Museum of Applied Art in Vienna.

Though retaining the upright format, general setting, and flat aerial perspective of Persian painting, the Indian artists of Akbar’s court exhibited an increasing naturalism and detailed observation of the world around them. Akbar’s fondness for history resulted in his commissioning of such dynamic illustrated histories as the Akbar-nāmeh (“History of Akbar”), in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. An empathy for animals is evident in the illustrations of the animal fables, particularly the Kalīlah wa Dimnah and the Anwār-e Suhaylī. Other outstanding series are the illustrations of the Razm-nāmeh (the Persian name for the Hindu epic the Mahabharata) in the City Palace Museum, Jaipur, and the Dīvān of Ḥāfeẓ in the Reza Library, Rampur. Outstanding painters of the period were Dasvant and Basavan.

Less emphasis was given to book illustration during the period of Jahāngīr (1605–27). Instead, Jahāngīr preferred court scenes, portraits, and animal studies, which were assembled in albums, many of them with richly decorated margins. The style shows technical advancement in the fine brushwork the compositions are less crowded, colours are more subdued, and movement is much less dynamic. The artist of the Jahāngīr period exhibited a sensitive understanding of human nature and an interest in the psychological subtleties of portraiture. Noted painters of the period were Abū al-Ḥasan, called the “Wonder of the Age” Bishandās, praised for his portraiture and Ustād Mansūr, who excelled in animal studies.

The elegance and richness of the Jahāngīr period style continued during the reign of Shah Jahān (1628–58) but with an increasing tendency to become cold and rigid. Genre scenes—such as musical parties, lovers on a terrace, or ascetics gathered around a fire—became frequent, and the trend continued in the reign of Aurangzeb (1658–1707). Despite a brief revival during the reign of Muḥammad Shah (1719–48), Mughal painting continued to decline, and creative activity ceased during the reign of Shah ʿĀlam II (1759–1806).

The technique of Mughal painting, in the initial phases, often involved a team of artists, one determining the composition, a second doing the actual colouring, and perhaps a specialist in portraiture working on individual faces.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Maren Goldberg, Assistant Editor.


About - Peter Dennis

Peter Dennis is a well-known illustrator of History subjects. Military History has been his passion for as long as he can remember.

He has completed over 200 books and other projects for Osprey Publishing and works on box art for many of the major Wargame miniature manufacturers.

He lives in Nottinghamshire, the hub of wargames figure production in the UK.

Peter writes about Paper Soldiers:

Long before I thought of becoming an illustrator, or had any idea that Paper soldiers were a ‘thing’ I had made flat Romans to fight battles on drawn landscapes. Nobody made Romans in ‘proper’ toy soldiers, at least that I was aware of and I was going through my first bout of Romanmania, a chronic condition I have never quite recovered from. I made some Greeks too, but they are lost.

Juvenile Romans

When I was about 19 I made my first visit to Paris. Being already completely engaged by the romance of the French military I headed for the Musee de L’armee. The thing that stuck in my mind from the visit was a case of quite large Paper figures made in the 1870s by the Imagerie d’Epinal, a prolific printer of sheets of swaggering soldiers. They captured a spirit that I had never seen in 3D miniatures, and as soon as I got back to the Art College in Liverpool I tried to make some paper wargames figures.

The 1969 Paperboys

They were impossibly delicate, took ages to do, and were nasty spindly things to look at. Paper soldiering was much harder than I thought, and my enthusiasm waned. The papery fellows lay in the back of my mind for 35 years until I chanced to fold some scrap paper in a certain way and immediately saw how a stand of figures could be made. 10 minutes later the Paperboys were invented and my first wobbly pencil soldiers stood in ranks.

The very first stand

Since then many sheets of warriors from many periods have been produced. It seemed to me that here was a way of playing wargames with large and colourful armies that wouldn’t break the bank, since my intention was to make my artwork affordable and able to be copied by the maker using the many systems available to us these days. Helion and company took my project on board and a series of books grew, featuring not only figures, but buildings and trees to furnish the fields of miniature battle.

Some subjects don’t fit easily into the book format though. Makers wanted spin-off subjects extending the use of the figures in the books, or small subjects which couldn’t be stretched to fill a book. These subjects, most of which I have been hankering to tackle for ages, will be found on this site. I’m looking forward to regularly extending the subjects available here, and you will be able to see what I’m up to, pretty much from day to day, on The Paperboys Page on Facebook.


Watch the video: Battletech: How to paint Mech camouflage. Tarnung Bemalanleitung Part 2 (January 2022).