Saturday, 26 November 2011

Bravest of the Brave

Michel Ney was a lowly Hussar Trooper before the Revolution and a Hussar Captain after it. He was very strong and very brave, with blue eyes and red hair and was a first class swordsman and horseman – sounds like he may well have been Captain of his school football team and popular with the girls too.

Ney was fiercely loyal to Napoleon (at least at first) and fought in countless actions including Jena, Eylau, Friedland, and Borodino and of course, Waterloo. He was among the original group of Marshals of the Empire created in 1804 and was later created Duke of Elchingen (1808) and finally Prince of Moskowa (1812). His handling of the French rear-guard during the retreat from Moscow is legendary and after the crossing of the Beresina his command was down to just 60 men but he was still fighting, musket in hand.

After the abdication Ney changed sides to the Bourbons, just as most of the other Marshals did in order to protect their lands and titles. It must have been a bit of a shock when Napoleon escaped from Elba and he famously promised to “bring the monster back in an iron cage” but I don’t think he ever meant it. After Waterloo he was arrested and tried by The Chamber of Peers where many of his old comrades turned their back on him and voted for the death penalty. He was executed by firing squad on 7th December 1815 and reputedly gave the order to “fire” himself.

The figure is FN/354 Marshal Ney with riding coat worn over his shoulders mounted on horse BNH/10. I acquired this casting already painted (see him here) and decided to refurbish rather than repaint – most of the work I did was on the horse, which has also been modified by the previous owner.


Prinz Ulrich von Boffke said...

I really enjoy gazing at the brushwork you do to paint/repaint/refurbish these personalities like Marshal Ney. Very nice!

Best Regards,


paulalba said...

Nice work Ian,
ALways an interesting read is Ney's life under Napoleon.

Rafael Pardo said...

A very naive and interesting old-looking figure!

Conrad Kinch said...

Nice work old chap.

"I shall bring him back in an iron cage!"