Charles Hamilton Smith Esq. (1776-1859) (after)
I.A. Atkinson (engraver)
R. & D. Havell, J. Hill (aquatinters)
The Ancient Costume of England
Colnaghi & Co., London: c. 1811-1818
Hand-colored engraving and aquatint
14.5 x 10 inches
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Medieval British knights, princes, kings and noblemen are shown in colorful costumes in a series of brilliantly rendered aquatints. Subjects include historical figures identified by name, such as Sir Robert Chaumberleyn, Esquire to the King and King Richard, Earl of Northumberland, as well as others more generically titled figures such as A Scots Knight and Knight Templar in Military Habit. Most are posed against simple landscape backgrounds. Click the magnifying icon to see the titles.
Charles Hamilton Smith (1776-1859) was an artist, illustrator, soldier and spy. He served as a British Army officer during the Napoleonic Wars seeing some active service, but spending most of his career in the British Isles in various staff positions. Smith was also a self-taught artist, and an extremely prolific one — by his own estimation he produced over 38,000 drawings over the years. Most of these were of non-military subjects, however over 1,400 were uniform studies, with another 3,000 containing accurate drawings of soldiers. He is also known for his Costume of the Army of the British Empire, originally published between 1812 and 1814. Many of these were reissued in 2002 by Greenhill Books, London, under the title Wellington’s Army.
Condition: Generally very good with only minor toning. Original colors bright and fresh.
Burnham, Robert. “Reviews: Wellington’s Army: The Uniforms of the British Soldier, 1812-1815.” The Napoleon Series. September 2002. http://www.greenhillbooks.com/booksheets/wellingtons_army.htm (10 April 2003).