Recreating famous painting of the Battle of Fontenoy


I’ve mentioned before that my favourite-ever military paining is Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s 1873 painting, The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745: The French and the Allies Confronting Each Other.


I first came across saw this picture many years ago on the cover of Charles Grant’s 1975 book  The Battle of Fontenoy.  To me the painting instantly reflected the feel of 18th century warfare, with its glorious colour and pageantry, its mannered politeness, and also its timeless horror.

I’ve now at last begun painting a battalion of the Gardes Françaises based on this painting. They’ll form part of my Barryat of Lyndonia imagi-nation. I’ll just have to think up of a suitable cover story as to why the Gardes Françaises have joined the Barryat’s army!


I’m using 1/56th scale figures from Crann Tara Miniatures, and as you can see in these pictures, they are simply superb! The posing, sculpting and detail are some of the best I have ever seen. Click on the pictures to study these exquisite figures in close-up.

I’m trying something different with the way I paint my figures for this project. Normally I undercoat in black, then drybrush in light grey before painting. However, this time I have undercoated in Citadel ‘wraith-bone’ spray, and plan to paint the figures with GW’s new Contrast paint range. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. Painting those drummers is going to be a particular challenge! 


I am converting the officers from wearing gaiters to wearing stockings, as per the panting. I successfully filed off all the gaiter buttons, but my shoe-buckles haven’t worked out quite as well. I initially tried making them from Green Stuff, but having never worked in that medium before, I ended up with buckles about a foot wide in scale! So glueing on small squares of paper, along with careful painting, will hopefully do the job.

Anyway, I’ll report back once I’ve painted this first batch of figures for what will eventually be a battalion of 54 guardsmen, along with another dozen officers, NCOs and drummers.


13 thoughts on “Recreating famous painting of the Battle of Fontenoy

  1. Belated Happy New Year , Rolly …
    Nice start to a new unit . Check out the book :- FONTENOY 1745 . Osprey Publishing [CAMPAIGN 307 ] By Michael McNally ,Illustrated by Sean O’Brogain . I have a copy of it just here right by my keyboard . I was on holiday up north and just started checking the emails -what a pleasure to find your email here …and finally a reason to again look at the above book .
    Cheers Rolly keep up the good work …Nick Papadopoulos.

  2. Fantastic project, Roly. Looking forward to seeing the unit fully painted. The Guard could be included in the Barryat army after being part of a dowry from the marriage of one of the younger daughters of the French king…or possibly one of his favourite illegitimate daughters just to add a bit of spice.😁 Keep up the good work.

  3. Wow! I think that you have (bravely) chosen a mammoth task. I do however think that Cran Tara Miniaturess 1/56 range of mini’s will be ideal for the task.

  4. Hi Roly many thanks for posting. I will be very interested to see how your new painting technique works out.

  5. Hi again Roly /Arteis ,… I reread your post and saw that you mention- GW -Green stuff . Green stuff dries rather fast – I suggest that you perhaps use – ‘Milliput’ [experiment with a tiny drop of water ] it takes a bit longer to dry . With Green stuff you could also try using a little bit of water [a small drop ] with it – it then gives you a longer drying period . I hope that is of some help . Good sculpting tools are a must with that stuff -you can buy some on-line .You could also use :- <> from the hardware store -there is more of it -last time i purchased it it was in the form of a large stick with an inner and outer ring that you cut and mix – and it is probably cheaper in the long run [again experiment with a tiny bit of water ] …NJP.

    Nick Papadopoulos [HELLENIC KIWI ] , Papatoetoe ,Auckland ,New Zealand .

  6. p.s. … I’m not sure if it is an editing tool on your site or my mistake Arteis /Roley …but my above comment had the trade name … Mend -It omitted between the <> …Cheers,…NJP.

    1. p.s…2… I put Mend -it … but in recollection it might actually have been called …’Knead -It ‘ …sorry its been a while since i brought the stuff . It came in a clear plastic tube about a foot or so long . It comes as a general grey colour with an inner ring of black -or a metallic ,or if i remember a copper [?] colour …sorry i’m getting older …memory is getting fuzzy …NJP.

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