Perry vignette of Wellington and his staff

I love vignettes. When I see a well-presented game, my eyes are initially drawn to the terrain, and then to any vignettes. The actual fighting forces only come third!

So my last few painting projects have been a series of vignettes depicting British camp life during the Napoleonic Wars produced by Perry Miniatures, culminating in this wonderful portrayal of Wellington and his generals studying a set of maps spread across a table.

Seated at the rear, Sir Thomas Picton leans forward with his right arm on the table, his civilian hat and stick lying discarded on the table beside him. He is intent in conversation with Sir Edward Pakenham, resplendent in full uniform, and perching with his foot up on the bench.

Bald-headed Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole sits with his back to us, taking something from his pocket, whilst the Spanish liaison officer Brigadier Miguel Ricardo de Alava leans forward in his chair. An aide-de-camp stands nearby, arms crossed nonchalantly behind his back.

General the Earl of Wellington himself is instantly recognisable, not only from his simple attire and ‘Wellington’ boots, but right down to his distinctive hooked nose.

Considering the subject matter is a fairly static group of standing and sitting figures, the animation sculpted into them is surprisingly dynamic. The poses are all so natural and unforced.

Meanwhile Sir Stapleton Cotton, gorgeously uniformed in hussar full dress, has just arrived. He hurries over to the table, having handed the reins of his mount to a passing private, who is no doubt admiring the tiger-skin shabraque draped across the horse’s back.

These figures were painted almost entirely with GW Contrast paints. I love the way the lighter colours work really well in providing instant shading and highlights. But I do sometimes find that darker colours such as blue and black can turn out a bit blotchy. This is exacerbated in these pictures, as blue is a notoriously difficult colour to photograph properly.

The Spanish buildings, by the way, were scratch-built by me many years ago. The windows, doors and exposed stonework are printed paper. The shutters are corrugated card, and the roofs are cut from a plastic sheet intended for model railway buildings. The wall texture is just sand that has been spray-painted black, then dry-bushed with ochre, yellow and finally white.

12 thoughts on “Perry vignette of Wellington and his staff

  1. I always really enjoy reading your blog posts – I suspect there are similarities in the way we view this hobby? The wonderful Perry vignette is a case in point; the dice-throwing purists loathe it as a useless distraction when Perry ought to be producing figures for some obscure German principality in their 1803 pattern uniform? It sums up what I enjoy the most – it tells a story. Keep up the great work.

  2. Your painting is more expressive than that of the official website of PERRY Ltd.
    The vignette represents Wellington’s staff during the Peninsula War. I do not understand why Thomas Picton is still represented in civilian clothes?
    On June 16, 1815 for the battle of Quatre Bras, the baggage of the general having still not arrived, he had to fight in the uniform in which he had traveled, that is to say in civilian clothes. On June 18, he had found his luggage and was able to die for England in a more regular outfit. He has fought only once in civilian clothes, or he is always represented in civilian clothes. Why?

    1. Thanks, LeChevalier. To be fair to the Perrys, the coat Picton is wearing looks the same as the other guys’ coats. So maybe it IS a uniform coat and I should’ve painted it blue instead of black. And then that could be just a civilian sun hat on the table [which should maybe be white]?

    2. From reading lots of Peninsular memoirs, it’s clear that, from the top down, “uniform” is a bit of a fluid concept. I suspect that few officers fought “in uniform”?

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