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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars

on 10 January 2001
This superb example of original artwork by a sadly prematurely deceased artist - J Jirbal -marries 80 of his evocative water colour paintings and several pen and ink line drawings with informative historical notes by F G Hourtoulle on the regiments, uniforms personalities, battles and armies taking part in the Napoleonic wars.
The large format means excellent detail can be observed in the paintings which is complemented by the text. Although in French, this should not deter those interested in the subject. For those with some or good knowledge of French this will be a must have book.
The structure is usually one or two pages of text and one painting, although some subjects have two paintings and up to three pages of text. Naturally L`Empereur features in more than anyone else!
Colour reproduction is good, and although there are a few incorrectly annotated pages and one duplicated page, these are corrected in a separate, enclosed stiff card erratum page.
As for the subjects these the cover some of the leading personalities (Napoleon, LaSalle, Murat and Wellington) and famous regiments of the French Armies, especially but not exclusively the Imperial Guard but also some French Line and Light Infantry regiments, including those of France's allies and foreign raised regiments serving her. Thus the Swiss regiments in their canary yellow uniforms feature, as do Berg Lancers, Neapolitan and Brunswick infantry, as well as Portuguese, Saxon and Bavarian cavalry.
The reader will also find anecdotes and background history of, for example the Spanish adventure, the role of the Gendarmerie as well as insights into the little known Croats, Lithuanian Tartars, Polish Krakus, Portuguese and Vistula Legions and those often neglected branches of Napoleonic armies - the pontooniers, ambulance service and surgeons and marine artillery.
In addition to the to-be-expected illustrations of some major battles, from Austerlitz and Auerstadt to Wagram and Waterloo, there are also examples of smaller actions. This means there are large panoramas and more intimate small action illustrations, which by their nature means two opposing armies`s troops are often shown at the same illustration, with as much attention to the opposing Austrians, Prussians, Russians and British uniforms as to their French or French-led adversaries
The nature of the book encourages and repays frequent revisits as the paintings, meticulous in their detail as well as the text mean the reader will always see and read new facts and details.
In conclusion this book will meet the needs of the uniformologist, modeller and history buff as well as the Napoleonophile. Should anyone wish for inspiration for a vignette they will not be disappointed, neither will the single figure modeller and painter.
It is a worthy and original compliment to any collection, standing equally impressively alongside books containing contemporary prints by Martinet, the later Rousselot and Bucquoy`s and modern day Michel Petard examples of Napoleonic uniforms.
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