“Gentlemen, we never fire first; fire yourselves!”
Voltaire’s version of this famous episode as the British approached the French line during the Battle of Fontenoy has become proverbial. He wrote:
The English officers saluted the French by doffing their hats . . . the French, returned the greeting. My Lord Charles Hai, captain in the English Guards, cried, ‘Gentlemen of the French Guards, fire!’ The Comte d’Auteroche, then lieutenant of Grenadiers, shouted, ‘ Gentlemen, we never fire first ; fire yourselves.’
I’ve now painted enough Crann Tara figures of the Gardes Françaises to recreate my favourite-ever military painting: Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745: The French and the Allies Confronting Each Other.
The Gardes are all Crann Tara figures, apart from the mounted officer and the casualty, which are Minden Miniatures (as are the British in the background). Click on the above picture at the top to enlarge it.
This is still only a portion of the figures I am painting for my Gardes regiment, which will eventually have 54 rank and file, along with many additional officers, NCOs and drummers.