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Petard et al

Michel Petard

Born in Nantes in November 1944, Michel Petard took an early interest in history and in archeology in general, as well as ancient weapons. After 6 years study at the Beaux-Arts in Nantes, he produced a thesis on Nantes gunsmiths in the 18th century, research which brought him into contact with Christian Aries, a specialist in that area of study.

He then collaborated on the great work of the latter "Armes Blanches Militaires Francaises" as a draftsman, while studying weapons, uniforms and their technologies. He published in 1973 a study on the manufacture of bladed weapons in the 18th century in addition to his work with Christian Aries.

In 1974, he met Jean Boudriot who entrusted him with the illustration of the uniforms and construction of the ships for his work: “Le Vaisseau de 74 Canons”. In the meantime, he introduced him to J. Buigne who hired him as a uniformologist author in the “Gazette des Uniformes”, where, beginning in 1974, he regularly created detailed analyses of the uniforms and equipment of various regiments in the French army during the period from 1745 to 1815. The illustrations for these articles were then collected and published as “de Fontenoy a Waterloo” in 1995.  

In 1979, he met Michel Sapin-Lignieres, through the intermediary of C. Aries, who entrusted him, as co-author, with the chapter on weapons and uniforms in his book “Les troupes legeres de l’ancien regime".

Since the beginning of 1980, he has devoted himself to R. Chartrand's study of colonial troops, where he is again working with the description and illustration of the uniforms of the period.

While he usually specializes in military costumes from the 17th century to the 1st Empire, recently he has been working on the medieval period.
Patrice Courcelle

Born in the north of France, Patrice Courcelle pursued classical studies and received a short training at the Beaux-Arts in Lille before leaving to receive direct instruction from several artists on historical art and its requirements.
Tutored by the Parisian master Eugène Lelièpvre, Courcelle became the heir to the tradition established by the military painters of Louis XIV and XV. As both an artist and a historian, his documentary plates, scholarly illustrations, and paintings, based on a particularly advanced form of historical documentation that takes into account the accuracy of circumstances, objects, characters and uniforms, have led him to become skilled not just in rendering detail accurately, but in capturing the feeling of soldiers on campaign. His works are published by specialist companies in Belgium, France, and Britain and he has an avid readership ranging from historians, to enthusiasts and military modellers. His original paintings sell worldwide and are exhibited in prestigious venues such as the French Military Academy. In 2013, the Royal Army and Military Museum in Brussels held a 6-month retrospective exhibition of his artwork, and in 2019, the Memorial 1815 Museum in Waterloo showed some of his work in their temporary exhibition on Blücher and Napoleon.

Today, Patrice Courcelle is the author and illustrator of countless articles, more than 80 books devoted to military history, mainly revolutionary and Napoleonic, including more than 25 on the Battle of Waterloo alone.

Historical Art:
Historical Art has little in common with ordinary illustration. It is in line with the "History Painting" of past centuries and consists of making documentary plates or works of art based on rigorous historical documentation where the accuracy of circumstances, places, sets, objects, characters and their costumes, etc. are taken into account.
New interest is now occurring in this increasingly demanding discipline, which is also regaining its stature among pure art lovers. Many are called but very few are elected in this difficult medium that requires considerable documentation and advanced special knowledge combined with a certain artistic talent.
Barely a dozen artist-historians worthy of the name are currently active. Internationally recognized by his peers, specialists and amateurs, Patrice Courcelle is among them.

He has illustrated numerous books in the Osprey “Men-at-Arms” series on the French and Allied armies of the Napoleonic Wars. 
Along with Jack Girbal, he illustrated F-G Hourtoulle's excellent study, “Soldiers and Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars”.
He is one of four illustrators, along with Bernard Coppens, Daniel Lordey, and Michel Petard, who contributed illustrations to the magnificent Editions Quatour publication “Les Uniformes des Guerres Napoleoniennes”, of which I have a copy for sale on this site.
Bernard Coppens

Bernard Coppens, researcher, historical illustrator, and uniformologist for institutions like the National Military Museum of the Netherlands, devoted his life to the study of the period 1789-1815. He published numerous articles and books on this period including several studies on the Battle of Waterloo. The passion he devoted throughout his life to researching original documents and studying sources led him to take a different look at events and to hunt down inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Starting from the observation that history is never neutral, particularly that of the Napoleonic era (it was Buonaparte who said that "History is a series of lies on which we agree"), Bernard Coppens, all his life, was convinced of the need to rid history of the errors introduced in the 19th and 20th centuries.