After an extended absence I have returned with more images in search of artists. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. First, we have a conclave of chasseurs a cheval, followed by a head of column with a wicked looking drum major who has definitely seen some action. Next up are two chromolithographs that I believe are by the same artist. One of the wounding of D'Hautpoul at Eylau and the other of Napoleon at Acre. And I suspect that artist to be Henri Philippoteux. Any and all assistance would be appreciated.
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And here we are:
Yes, the alleged Massy...actually an unnamed officer of the 51st Infantry Regiment. The facing color for this regiment is "aurore". Portrait signed by J.M. Combette and dated 1828!
Maybe some people should just stop believing everything they are told by "experts" praised to the skies and stop banning people from their forums and blogs who might prove them wrong...
No assessments, no opinions? ...ok. So, just a few observations on my part.
First, regarding the "Massy" portrait.
First, I can't see the number on the buttons. At any rate, I can't see a "44" or „41" ... Does anyone have a better resolution of the picture, so that the exact number could be clearly recognized?
Second, in my opinion, this uniform does not date to Empire, but to the time of the Second Restoration. Why?
First, because of the epaulettes. This officer wears an epaulette with thick fringes on the right and a contra-epaulette on the left. By the time of the First Empire, a thickly fringed épaulette worn on the left and a contre-épaulette worn on the right marked a chef de bataillon. Epaulettes worn on the right and contre-épaulettes worn on the left marked an adjudant-major. However, to my knowledge, there were no adjudant-majors with the rank of chef de battalion at the time of the Empire. The highest ranking adjudant-majors were captains whose epaulette had thin fringes. And, although Massy achieved the rank of capitaine, he never was capitaine adjudant-major. And, as already mentioned, the epaulettes shown would not correspond to this rank anyway.
It was only during the Second Restoration, by a "Notice" dated 5 December 1815, that épaulettes, worn on the right and with thick fringes, and contre-épaulettes worn on the left, were introduced as a "Major chef de bataillon"'s rank insignia - cf. Bardin, Dictionnaire de l’armée de terre, vol. 5, p. 3274, s.v. Major chef de bataillon, N° 2:
"… La Notice de 1815 ( 5 décembre) a réglé les détails de leur uniforme, elle leur faisait porter à droite l’épaulette de chef de bataillon."
As can be seen e.g. on this plate by Moltzheim:
In other respects, too, the uniform does not correspond to that of the Imperial period, but rather to the blue uniform which was reintroduced in 1820. Facing colours were reintroduced in 1822, and on February 2, 1823 it was decreed that regiments no. 33 to no. 64 should wear blue collars with patches in the facing colour. The officer depicted would thus have belonged to one of the regiments whose facing colours were crimson (cramoisi), deep pink (rose foncée) or "high orange" (aurore). I’m not sure. As mentioned, it would be helpful to be able to clearly recognize the number on the buttons.
Another military of the same rank can be seen here (not "époque Louis-Philippe“, in my opinion, but Second Restauration, c.1823-1828):
There was another Massy, Charles Bertrand Massy (1774-1812), who was a major in the 44th Line Infantry Regiment in 1807 and became colonel of the 4th Line Infantry Regiment in 1812. This portrait is said to represent him:
He bears a distant likeness to the sitter of the present portrait, but in case Mr Gorchkoff should have identified the sitter with him, he would certainly be wrong. First, because of the uniform details and rank distinctions of our "Massy" which cannot date from before the Second Restauration; second, because of the fact that Charles Bertrand Massy was a colonel (and died) in 1812 already, which would make it absurd to represent him with the much later uniform of a rank inferior to a colonel, and with Restauration era decorations besides the LdH (the Décoration du Lys and the Ordre de Saint-Louis).
Conclusion: The officer depicted is not Jean-Baptiste-Maurice Massy (nor Charles Bertrand Massy), in my opinion, but a Major chef de bataillon of the royal army whose uniform corresponds to the regulations of February 2, 1823 (in effect until 1828).
And now, regarding the "Gouttes" portrait.
As far as I can see, all the information about this officer comes from the letters allegedly written by him. I could not find any reference to an independent source that would prove his existence, first of all, his service records (probably, one would have to look for them at Vincennes).
The man is decorated with the Order of the Légion d'honneur, but he is not listed in the Base Léonore (unless I have overlooked him). Ok, Base Léonore is not complete, but in this case I really wonder whether we are up against a fictional biography of an officer who never existed.
Again, the epaulettes are an important clue. The man is said to have attained the rank of a captain, but in the First Empire this rank was characterized by an épaulette with thin fringes worn on the left and a contre-épaulette worn on the right. What we see here are epaulettes with thin fringes on both sides. As a matter of fact, such epaulettes were introduced for captains, but only by the decision of July 10, 1821. At that date, the man had retired for three years already, according to his letters. Nothing is right here.
Conclusion: In my opinion it is doubtful this man ever existed. If he did, then at least the portrait would not date from the period of the First Empire, but would have been painted during the Second Restoration at the earliest (after 1821), when the man would no longer have been in service. Honestly, I suspect a forgery, created in the 19th, 20th or even 21st century, with the naive painting style perhaps intended to just conceal this.
Speaking of questionable images... I saw two portraits on Michael Lint's Uniforming the Past Blog on Facebook whose identifications look somewhat questionable to me.
First, the alleged portrait of a certain Jean-Baptiste-Maurice Massy (1786-after 1831):
According to his service record, this Massy served in the 44th Line Infantry Regiment which was reorganized in 1814 to form the 41st Line Infantry Regiment, dissolved in 1815 and reorganized again into the Légion de la Haute Vienne. He attained the rank of a capitaine.
If I do understand correctly, Mr Lint thinks that Dimitri Gorchkoff recognizes this same Massy in the present portrait, which he apparently dates to the Empire.
On what evidence is this identification based?
The second portrait is said to be the portrait of a cuirassier officer named Jean-Louis de Gouttes:
Again -what are the hard facts confirming this identification?
Thanks for your assessments.
Finally, Maestro Gance's masterpiece in its entirety.
I was finally able to view Abel Gance's Napoleon for the first time since the initial release of Kevin Brownlow's restoration in the 1980's. Amazing stuff! Sequences I had forgotten about completely - the premier of Le Marseillaise by Danton and Rouget de Lisle in Paris, the attack on Toulon in the storm, the initial meeting of Bonaparte and the generals of the Army of Italy. I loved it! The way the characters were introduced, you could tell that Gance did intend this to be just the first in a multi-part biography. What a tragedy that it was not completed.
Excellent work from those who know their business!
Yes, but this coat more closely follows the 1791 regulations. The collar is wrong though. It should be higher and closed. The musket should not have brass fittings, but iron ones.
While looking for something else entirely, I ran across this card by Maurice Toussaint. Looks familiar doesn't it?
It's supposed to represent a grenadier of the Garde Nationale or line infantry of the early republic. For line infantry the uniform dates from 1793. It's likely that an infantryman of the Army of Italy was intended.
Seems to be some difficulty, could be with the artist. Found another by the same producer. Let's see if this shines any light.
You were right about the Cantiniere. I have come up with another uniform quandry. Looks early, probably from the Italian campaign. Have a look. The artist is Flemeng.
The plate has nothing to do with First Empire/Napoléon but rather Revolutionnary period as clearly indicated by the mixed uniforms, three are still wearing old Royal Army white, one with helmet model 1791, hoofs as shoes, two are in brown uniforms with blue distinctive colour, and the men represented in the smoke/evocation of the past are Chouans or Vendéens
It seems to be an almost Pavlovonian reflext to attribute everything to Boney, the French Armies in the Republic were quite heterogenous and only after 1805 the legend of Boney was built within the French Army, the post mortem propaganda of Boney himself tried to make us believe that this happened earliere and even then there were quite a few officers who weren't corrupted and did not take the step of an army of virtue to an army of (Napoléon's) honnor.
It's a Dutch fusilier dressed according to the 1829 regulations.
Found the image in question. It was the left-hand side of an image by Augusto Ferrar-Delmau.