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Soldats et Uniformes du Premier Empire

This wonderful series of plates called "Soldats et Uniformes du Premier Empire" was created by Dr. F.G. Hourtoulle, a Parisian cardiologist with a talent for historical research. His aim was not to compete with other similar series, such as Lucien Rousselot’s “L’Armee Francaise” series, but rather to focus on various units of the period, including the German allies and even the enemies of Napoleon and to show the soldiers "in context" and not simply as pure uniform documentation.
89 plates were originally published separately between 1965 -1972. Each plate measures 8.125 x10.625 (21x27 cm.) and is hand colored and carefully highlighted with metallic colors where necessary. The plates are grouped by subject with each subject containing from one to four plates and an accompanying four page description in French of the scene and uniforms depicted.

Plates 1-75 were designed by French artist Jacques (Jack) Girbal, who is rather unknown outside of France and even forgotten to a degree in his home country. He was wonderfully gifted and his graphical style was well suited to action scenes. After his death, Dr. Hourtoulle first produced a set by himself (plates 76-77) and then secured the help of a young Belgian artist just starting into this field, Patrice Courcelle, who completed plates 78 to 89.

The plates and accompanying text, except for the Courcelle plates, were reprinted in book form by Histoire et Collections in 1997 under the title “L’Epopee Napoleonienne”, but the quality of this volume has nothing to do with the originals and, in addition, the book is packed with typos and mistakes. An English translation of all 89 plates and text (I think) titled “Soldiers and Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars” was published in book form in 2004.

Each plate portrays a unit from Napoleon's army dressed in full regimental uniform and regalia. The soldiers are posed in scenes that might realistically occur while on campaign. All are vibrant, colorful and historically accurate. This series highlights special uniforms, flags, standards and banners of the French army and its commander, Napoleon, as they marched to conquer the western world. All of the uniforms, from the senior general officers with their magnificent embroideries and embellishments to the regular enlisted men with their plainer but distinctive outfits are all historically accurate. 

This is an essential reference for miniature collectors and historians.