Saturday, October 6, 2012

Officers of the Scottish Regiments of the British Army - 1914 by Greenwood & Ball

Recently while browsing the Internet I ran across an auction house, which had a lot up for bid that was a ‘collection’ of 42 Greenwood & Ball figures. I was truly saddened by the condition of these once magnificent military miniatures. Every figure had sustained severe ‘lead rot’, which could easily be discerned even in the marginal photography that was shown. Initially I was considering including one of the photographs, but thought better of it. Hate to see grown men cry.

At that point I realized how fortunate I had been in acquiring and retaining a small collection of Greenwood & Ball figures in the 1950’s and 60’s. The main element of the collection is one of each of the officers of Scottish Regiments of the British Army, circa 1914. The year 1914 being the last year before the ‘Great War’ that full dress uniforms were still wore by the British Army. They are photographed against the background of print from the long gone yet iconic ‘Tradition’ magazine titled, ‘THE SCOTTISH REGIMENTS OF THE BRITISH ARMY, 1895', from an original painting by Richard Simpkin, famed military artist. It would take an expert on contemporary British Army Uniform Regulations to discern any differences between the print and figures. One such expert would have been the late LtCol Olaf MacLeod who executed a comprehensive series of uniform plates every bit as good as Simpkin. They can be found in his book; MacLeod, O., THEIR GLORY SHALL NOT BE BLOTTED OUT The Last Full Dress Uniform of the British Army, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1986, ISBN 0-7188-2673-6. 

Not professing to be even a good amateur photographer, let alone professional, apologies in advance for some lacking in the lighting and resolution on the close-ups. The sculpting style of John Greenwood is distinctive. The figures appear as 54mm mannequins in a miniature museum, or from a Richard Simkin print, and have disproportionally large noses, another distinction of his style. My single regret is that I didn’t have the necessary resources at the time to acquire more of the Greenwood & Ball figures, particularly the resplendent uniforms of the British Indian Army. I did have the presence of mind to acquire an officer of the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own) and an officer of the United States Marine Corps in Dress Blues.

From left to right; 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys),
Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) and 42nd Highlanders
(Black Watch)

From left to right (front row); King's Own Scottish Borderers,
Royal Scots Fusiliers and Scots Guards

From left to right (back row); Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,
Seaforth Highlanders, Gordon Highlanders and Cameron Highlanders

From left to right; Cameron Highlanders, Highland Light
 Infantry and Cameronians

Integrated into the following photographs are an Imrie-Risley officer of the 42nd Royal Highlanders (Black Watch), circa 1775, and an officer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders circa 1957, which is a Rose figure. Both I hand-painted when my eyesight and steadiness of hand were much better. My apologies for one error in the set of the tartan in the Gordon Officer's kilt. It should have a yellow stripe down each side of the sporran, rather than down the center.

Officer of the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) circa 1775
by Imrie-Risley

Officer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders circa 1957
by Rose Miniatures

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