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Le Plumet

Another notable series of plates concerning the French army besides Rousselot’s “L’Armee Franciase” is the "Le Plumet" Series. Albert Rigondaud (Rigo), whose style is without doubt of lesser artistic quality than Rousselot, began publishing in the early 1960s to the mid-1980s several series of plates under the generic brand of "Le Plumet" (The Plume). His intent was not to compete with Maitre Rousselot but rather complement the work done by researching the non-regulation dress, the uniforms of musicians, superior staff, flags, etc. He also did some work on the Ancien Regime period (identified as the “AR” series of plates).

Whereas Rousselot’s plates are issued with 4 pages of highly dense text – Rigo’s have the text on the reverse and it focuses not only on uniformology but also on whatever oddities or historical anecdotes he had come across in his research. The plates make a fascinating body of work and are a pleasure to consult as they are filled with information going much beyond the pure dry aspects of uniformology.

The plates were initially hand-colored but moved to more modern means after Plate 136. The various sets of plates within the Le Plumet series is as follows:

The main Series - The Consulate through the Empire
This series highlights special uniforms, flags, standards and banners of an army which for a generation stunned the world. The uniforms of the senior general officers with their magnificent embroideries are alongside the rich dress of the drum-Majors, musicians and sappers who all paraded under the folds of the flags and banners which flew high from Madrid to Moscow, Valmy and Fleurus...not to mention Cairo.

Series U – Individual Uniforms
This series represents the uniforms of privates and officers, not the regulation dress but what they really wore as witnessed by contemporary artists who were the true war correspondents of their day. Furthermore those men are identified by name and you will thus be able to get acquainted with some of these obscure individuals who did so much for the glory of one man.

Series AR - Ancien Regime
The increasing number of those who love this period of French history are drawn to it by the discreet elegance of uniforms which contrast with the bright colors of the flags and standards which flew over Fontenoy, Hastembeck and Yorktown.

Series D - Drapeaux et Etendards des Troupes Alliees sous le 1er Empire
This series illustrates the flags carried by the allies of France during the Napoleonic Wars.  

The plates are all undated and I can find no source that gives the exact publication dates, but with a little sleuthing I can come up with approximate dates.  From other sources, I can determine that plates 150 – 155 were published in 1976 and by the end of 1982 he was up to plate 210 of the main series, 42 of the “AR” series, and 19 of the “U” series. Assuming the one source is correct that the plates were published from the early 60’s to the mid 80’s, that indicates about 10 plates per year for the main series. I’ll let you interpolate from there for more precise dating.  

I also don’t know with any certainty how many plates there are in each series or if I have even identified all the series. I have two plates that are identified as La Guerre d’Independence U.S. and are numbered 101 and 102 and I have found no other reference to this series.  And there also seems to be a series identified as “ES” that shows the drummers for various units. From other sources, I can say that there are at least:

Main Series – 255
Ancien Regime (AR) – 61
Drapeaux et Etendards (D) – 36
Individual Uniforms (U) – 40
Drummers (ES) – 4