FEATURED REGIMENT: Gardes du Corps van zijne Majesteit

A rare example of my original style of painting from 1992

Barry Hilton - The first regiment of Horse I painted for my collection seems an appropriate choice as the first cavalry unit to appear in our series of featured regiments. I was probably intrigued by the fact they were Dutch, they were Guards and they were figures I had never painted before. I was really experimenting at the time with which ranges matched with which and how many different poses I could create with a limited number of available castings.

The Gardes served in Ireland with William during 1690 before leaving for Flanders. This unit is interesting for a variety of reasons. Apart from the rebasing (as seen) these figures are exactly as painted 21 years ago. My style has changed and gone through a variety of phases since that time. What is notable about these is the shade of red. It is the sole surviving example of how I painted reds during the heyday of the LoA collection. This is the same shade as that used on the original Mackay's Regiment and the original Ramsay's Regiment. I remember being rather put out when I showed some painted troops to Trevor Dixon about this time and his sole comment was 'Their faces are a bit white'. At the time I thought, cheeky bugger, but if you put your work up for comment you must be prepared for what comes your way.Looking at these now I can see his point although he was never the most subtle conversationalist.

The unit contains  Dixon's officer and trumpeter mounted on Foundry horses. The cornet is a converted Essex cuirassier. The fellow being shot through the forehead is a converted kettledrummer from the Foundry range. Three of the troopers in the rear rank are Dixon's models. The remaining five models are the standard Foundry cavalry trooper from their 1690 range. A real hotch potch and I don't know if it really works now but back in 1992 when I completed them it seemed like a fairly cohesive and imaginative regiment. The rebasing happened sometime around 1996.

They saw 51 official actions and probably 10-12 unrecorded as they guested as Russians, Saxons and Spanish. Their most recent outings in Ireland I have not recorded. They achieved an impressive seven distinctions. Their average battle losses are a punishing 43%. The Gardes captured an astonishing ten standards and colours in combat: Kavanagh's (Jacobite Foot),,Sarsfield's (Jacobite Horse), Cravattes du Roi (French Horse),,Bourbon (French Horse-twice!), Oxford's (English Horse), Mestre de Camp General (French Horse), Newcastle's (English Horse), Geier's (German Horse) and most impressively of all the Gardes Francaises.

Their own standards were lost four times. Their finest hour came when they captured three French cavalry standards in a single battle. This was a section of Neerwinden 1693. Their darkest hour was being wiped out to a man in another Flanders struggle.

They are the premier Allied Horse regiment of my collection but are due for retirement and replacement by a Warfare Miniatures unit with drop sleeve coats sometime soon.