Archive for August, 2010



We have been stranded in the late 17th century ( or maybe the early 18th ), outside our burning house, for a while now in, I Like Coffee, I Like Tea and I thought it was time we put everything to rights  at last.

You remember the Gentlemen amongst us had been to the Coffee House to catch up on the gossip and found all sorts of ‘goings on’ in progress. Meanwhile the ladies of our group had been to Chelsea by river and had made the acquaintance of some Grenadiers, gentlemen all, we are sure. 😉 in All The King’s Men.

Let us return to our Kensington House, to see what can have been salvaged from the fire. Then we shall nip along the River Thames and eavesdrop on the ladies as they are entertained to a bumper or two of claret by our gallant boys in red.

The fire wagon has arrived at the house and is pumping gallons of water into the Piano Nobile (literally Noble Floor – the first floor of the house where the public rooms are situated.) Thank Heavens we have kept up the payments to the company that owns the fire wagon.

A fire insurance mark - displayed on an insured building. If you hadn't got it, you didn't get your fire put out!

The fact that our house is now made of stone and brick and not, as it was earlier, wood and thatch, will help it to withstand the fire. In fact the fire seems to have taken hold mostly in the ground floor. So why are these idiots spraying water into the first floor? Oh my lovely paintings, oh my beautiful Delft! A goodly deal of it has been handed out through the windows. Oh Ho! I had better set a guard on it all. I can just see some of my shifty neighbours, taking a fancy to a bit of unguarded stuff. Especially my lovely little itsy bitsy snuff boxes…my pride and joy. So easy to slip one into the capacious pockets we gentlemen have in our coats nowadays.

Did I tell you that I had started to take up this new stuff -snuff? It’s very fashionable. You have some powder in a sweet little box ( this one is in my own collection )

A rare horn snuff box c. 1700

and you take out a pinch and put it onto the back of your hand and then put your nose to it and…SNIFF. A while later you sneeze. Imagine! And then you wipe your nose on one of these new fangled pieces of cloth from France called a Hankichif….or some such name. Jolly good!

” Here you!….Gadabout, or what ever your name is < I can never remember the names of my servants>….just you stand here and guard these things while I go and take a look and see what the damage is. And no pilfering, I’ve counted it all! ”

” It’s Gadsby Sir.And yes Sir of course Sir.”

We go into the house, up the short staircase to the first floor, above the level of the kitchens, store and servants rooms.

Oh dear, there is quite a lot of damage. Not done by the fire I hasten to add but by the water poured onto it to quench the ( non-existent ) flames. Those addle pated, poltroons, those flea brained, flatulent fire eaters! I’ll make them pay for this.

” Here you!….. um…thingy… roll up this carpet and take it out into the back yard.”

There is no answer. And no movement indicating compliance with the Master’s wishes.

” Stop lurking under the stairs there and come and do as I say.”

The servant doesn’t move.

“I’ll have you packing and out of my employ before you can say….ah…um!”

The Smiling Maid private collection. mid 18th C..

Of course. I had forgotten. It’s my dummy board. I had her painted by one of those itinerant decorators who prettied up the Parlour when I moved house a while back. It’s very effective. I knew she was there but…she still took me in. I am in possession, of course, of a good number of real flesh and blood servants, but it never does any harm to have a few more pretend ones dotted about. Makes you look wealthier than you are…what!

Good job I am wealthy. Gonna need all me pennies to do the place up! Oh no… the heat of the fire has destroyed my beautiful Delft vase and my latest find, a wonderful blue and white Tulip Vase ( aint got no tulips to put in it yet but I’m working on that,)  decorated with scenes from Roman Mythology. Or is it that those glorified water wobblers have washed them off their plinths? Smashed to smithereens! And so so expensive. That pernicious race of odious little vermin calling themselves Fire Fighters!

Perhaps I shall get my decorator to paint me some replica vases – lifelike- to stand above my door casements. I’ll have a dozen. Ha! Everyone will think I am so wealthy then. Well….yes I am already wealthy but there is no point in throwing yer money about sirrah? It’ll cost me far less and up there no one will be able to tell the difference! < rubs hands together > I’ll have twenty!

Dutch Tulip vase. 17th c

Let’s leave Sir Paltry Penny – Pincher to his plans and fly along the river Thames to see what the ladies are up to.

Ah yes….. they were fraternising with His Majesty’s troops at Chelsea. They were, I think about to look at a Grenadier’s pouch.  😉

Grenadiers wearing their pouches.

“Oh Sir” we hear one cry…” you do have a big one. How do you carry it around, so proud and erect?”


Oh I see. The lady is commenting on the size and nature of the soldier’s musket or rifle  😉

A 17th century musket

” A soldier Madam must bear his weapon with fortitude and fearlessness. One develops muscles, Madam, muscles!” He offers his red clad arm for the feeling of the biceps.

A gloved hand strokes the upper arm of the Grenadier Captain’s uniform.

” And it’s so long.” says the lady, whose name I think is something like Miss de Meanour.

” Ah…yes…that would be my bayonet. Good for sticking it in. ”

The lady’s eyebrow raises a fraction.

” To the enemy Maam, to the enemy.”

” And tell me Captain, did you not rather want to be part of this latest thing the King has invented, down at Greenwich… the Navy I believe they call it?”

“Madam…”, the soldier sneers. ” No one in their right mind would go to be a sailor. For being in a ship Madam, is like being in jail with the chance of being drowned. ”

He waves his arm about. ” A man in jail has more room, better food and commonly, better company!” ( Thanks to Samuel Johnson (  1709 – 1784 )

Mis de Meanour, taps her fan on his arm and smiles.

Sir you have a fine body of men here under your command.”

The soldier scratches his stubbly chin.

” Pah! All I have with me today are a bunch of raw recruits. Smooth faced little babbies, they are, crying for their Mummy’s bubbies. Forgiving my plain speech Maam.”

The Wilberforce Grenadier. By kind permission of Wilberforce House in Hull. He looks a bit fresh faced don't you think?

“But what then, are those I can see there,” she says pointing  – “a whole regiment of fine fellows in Red?”

The soldier hoots with laughter.

“They do take one in don’t they?”

He is shaking his head. ” They are all dummy boards Madam. Every one. ”

“Imagine a whole file of these laddies up and down yer battlements, muskets in hand, bayonets at the ready. Make yer think twice about starting up trouble, wouldn’t it?”

Miss de Meanour raps the nearest dummy board on the chest.

” Oh My,! ” says she ” Hard as a harlot’s heart! Indeed they are very lifelike, at a distance.”

A 7 ft grenadier dummy board in private collection.

The Captain leans on his musket. ” They have been using these in the Gardens at  Foxhall, Madam,”  (Vauxhall – see Cuckoos Nest ) ” They are doing a wonderful job of keeping the peace.”

” But how can they do that? They don’t move.”

The Captain brandishes his musket.

” T’is the sight of the weapon Maam. T’is a good deterrent to a frisky knave or a drunken cove. ”

The lady shrinks back. ” Oh Captain. I do hope your weapon isn’t loaded.”

There is a glint in his eye. We can see it from here!

He whispers….but we can hear him.

” Come out the back with me, my pretty and you will know if it is loaded or not!”


Is she going?

” And what is your name Sir Bold Captain of Grenadiers?” She says fluttering her fan rapidly.

He pulls himself up to his full considerable ( 6 foot ) height and bows.

An 18th c. grenadier dummy board in private collection in the U.K.

” Captain E. Normous Folly at your service Maam.” he says.

” Well Captain Folly – I shall attend you out the back and you can discharge your weapon. But I warn you, quietly if you must, for I am a  gently born lady and cannot abide noise!”

Target practice for grenadier musket men. Sometimes, it's said, the dummy board soldiers themselves were used as target practice but we can't prove it.

Out in the yard of the pub where we met our grenadier…the men are practising their drill.

” Now Madam” says Captain Folly. ” I shall show you how a professional discharges his weapon!”


What else did you think he was going to do?

Shame on you!



A Famine of Figures


After a bit of a quiet time, in the miniature dummy board world, { though I have been busy with portraits) I have a new commission.

Sally would very much like a Governess with a child for her miniature Georgian Nursery. It seems that Nurseries are the order of the day as I know at least, three people, at the moment, working on them.

I have trailed round the usual places for an image for quite a while now and surprisingly, failed to some up with anything useful. Why don’t I just use a real dummy board, I hear you cry?

Well…., that’s just the thing. There aren’t any. Not that I have come across. So we shall have to make one specially.

Up comes Teresa to the rescue.

One of the very good things about being in a group like Artisans in Miniature, ( both Teresa and myself are proud members ) Artisans in Miniature

is that one can call on the group to help out with *finding things*, be they a bit of ribbon or a mini maker, a special technique or a fancy bibelot for your own dolls house. Or as here, an image.

Teresa has kindly allowed me to use one of her images as a base for my Nursery group.

The Georgian Governess and her charges. Photo courtesy of Teresa Thompson

I shall move them around a bit and add some decoration to the materials of their clothing. This I can do by taking a photo of a real Georgian fabric and superimposing it on my chosen image.

Something like this sort of thing.

A lovely waistcoat or petticoat pattern don't you think?

You see the client will want d e t a i l ..they always do.

I think it would be fun to do all four figures together one in front of another almost. It will give me a bit more a of a challenge in painting the different poses and shadows etc. I always like a challenge! 😉

I must rush off now and start to prepare the board for painting. If you remember, it has to be painted with an oil based primer both sides so that the oil paint will stick to the surface and so that it won’t warp when cut out. No one wants to pay for something that warps after a short while, though I have to say I have seen plenty of real dummy boards, full size that have done a good job of warping, cracking and splitting!

What I would like to do also, is base the painting of my face on an existing Georgian dummy board, for the Governess.

Every age has its *look.* Each era has a special characteristic which sets it apart from  another, quite apart from clothes.

This is one way we can attempt to date a full sized historical dummy board.

Dummy boards, you see, have been made from the early 17th century to the present day ( well alright, historic ones …let’s say, to the 19th century), so it can be quite difficult to date them without taking costume out of the account. Quite a few figures look as if they might be 18th century but are in fact 19th, for example and one of the ways we can tell, is by the look of the facial features.

The appearance of the face in a dummy board is generally a good indication of the age of the figure, though it can’t be absolute proof of history. It has often been said that, for example, some of the painters of the mid 17th century created portraits of their female sitters which are distinguishable only by the slight changes in dress and colour! Deary me. 😉

P.G. Patmore an early 19th century author of ‘British Galleries of Art’ described passing through the’ Beauty Room’ at Petworth House in Sussex, containing

“some of Charles’s beauties – all alike- ” ( Charles 2nd’s mistresses ).

British Galleries of Art Patmore G.& W.B.Whittaker 1824

One contemporary of Sir Peter Lely ( 1618-1680 ), King Charles 2nd’s principal painter who painted many of the court ladies of the time, said that:

“ when he had painted the Duchess of Cleveland’s ( Barbara Villiers ) picture, he put something of her face as her Languishing Eyes into every one picture, so that all his pictures had an air of one another, all the eyes were sleepy alike so that Mr. Walker ye painter swore Lilly’s pictures was all brothers and sisters ”
( English Art 1625-1714 OUP 1957, page 174. Whinney and Millar )

Lely made several images of Barbara between 1662 and 1668 and these did indeed become the pattern for the concept of beautiful Restoration Womanhood.
It is doubtful that portraits of Barbara Villiers would inflame the blood of the average 21st century male today but in the 17th century she was considered the icon of feminine perfection- the ‘pin -up’ of her day; the Marylin Munro or the ‘James Bond girl’ of her age to be

“lusted after by all men and copied by all ladies of the Haute Monde.”
( All the Kings Women  Derek Wilson  p. 145 )

Engravings of her portraits were sought after. Indeed Pepys noted in his diary that in December 1666, he bought three copies

“ which is, as to the head, I think, a very fine picture and like her”

Duchess of Villiers, Barbara Villiers. Not a nice lady, by all accounts.

The self portrait of the woman poetess and artist Anne Killigrew ( 1660- 1685 ) also shows us a little of the conventional late 17th century face, so often delineated by Lely. The 17th century playwright Dryden, described this portrait rather baldly as displaying “ a well proportion’d Shape and beauteous Face” but in these round cheeks, high forehead, full mouth and fine long nose framed by flattering thick curls, we might just be able to detect something more individual and intelligent, restrained and disciplined- a different character, from Villiers altogether. ( Thank Heavens…the woman was a veritable monster!) 🙂

Anne Killigrew

By contrast, in the person of Jane Myddleton,  ( born 1645 ) the daughter of Sir Robert Needham are to be found the ideal features of 17th century beauty, as laid down in the ‘rules’ of the time. This lady had the perfectly oval face with the exalted smooth forehead and “high temples” of The Ladies Dictionary ( a popular manual of the time ), finished off with the neat little chin. In this lady we see the nose neither too big nor too small, the mouth petite and with the perfect cupid’s bow  at the upper lip, all surmounted by fine arched brows. Here too we see the womanly rounded figure, the perfect decolletage – and above, the “two little worlds of beauty” which prompted the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys admiring her at the Theatre one day to say that she was possessed of a

“ very excellent face and body, I think”.

Jane Myddleton

Pepys, ever the roving eye but nevertheless, a discerning judge of female beauty, knew many of the King’s mistresses and ladies of the court personally and in his diary commented that these ladies were accepted as the leaders of fashionable taste.

And so High Fashion of the time dictated that a ‘beauty’ should be full lipped and sensuous with hooded eyes, just as during the years of the Renaissance a high smooth forehead and a long neck, white skin and thin eyebrows were considered the epitome of beauty. ( see Christopher Hibbert – English Social History )

Medieval women at work. Note the high forehead, plucked of hair, the thin silhouette and the whiteness of the skin. Not just an accident of painting!

Looking at 17th and 18th century dummy board figures we can see this similarity in style and fashion for they too show the ‘face of the age’ but we need a degree of circumspection when setting them in their historical context. I think you can see by the three examples here, what was the “look of the 17th century”.

So it might be a good idea to try to replicate the * historic face * of the 18th century in our Governess figure. IN the later 18th century it was fashionable to be girlish, quite voluptuous and have large dark eyes. We only have to look at Emma Hamilton to see an example of that and we know she was considered absolute perfection at this time.

Nothing could be more beautiful than her countenance or more commanding than her figure at this time; the first had an unusual mixture of angelic softness

. . the other . . . would equally have served for the splendour of an Imperial throne, or the couch of voluptuous sensuality. (Sherrard 232)

Emma Hamilton

So we need something a bit peaches and cream.

What about something like this….

A dummy board of a servant girl ( better stick to the right class!) with just the right sort of face. Let’s see if we can use her.

A figure from Sweden. Lady with Tray mid 18th century.

More to come later about this new commission. Next… transferring the pattern to the board.

Must Try Harder


I have not been idle with my dummy board research over the past few weeks despite my relative quietude in the blogosphere.

I picked up the biggest book I think I have ever lugged home from the library, a few weeks back. I ordered it especially, as it was entitled “Deceptions and  Illusions – Four centuries of trompe l’oeil” the catalogue of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art Washington. U.S. A. I thought it might prove a useful tool in my ever present and ongoing search for information about the dummy board figure.

Tool indeed… if I had needed it as a weapon it would have made a nasty dent in someone’s cranium. As it was, it made a large enough thump as it fell off the desk ( onto a wooden floor!) narrowly missing my foot, when I was searching the bibliography, yesterday.

I heaved it back to the library today and asked them NOT to provide me with such huge tomes in future. For the good of my health. 🙂

They laughed.

They’re used to me after twelve, nearly thirteen years of asking for such esoteric and arcane titles as ”  Visual Perception Redefined ” a scholarly paper in the psychological appreciation of reality and “The history of the dildo from the 17th century to the present day ” I kid you not!

And all because of a tiny reference in a yet another scholarly tome ( this time in Italian- well yes it would be… ) to a trompe l’oeil of one such an * object*.

Isn’t life strange?

What’s that…? Do I have pictures….No, I most certainly do not.

The Big Book...deceptively small and light..... be not fooled!

Back to the big book….. It took an age to read properly. It was very useful. Not to mention interesting. Wordy in the extreme but interesting. I don’t know why authors seem to think they have to be so convoluted when explaining psychological phenomena…but they do. What’s wrong with plain English?

I do hope my little blog is less frightening than many would find this book. Anyway…I digress.

The book contained, as I hoped it would, an illustration of three  historical ” references ” to interesting problems thrown up by reading people’s diaries. THAT is what you get for poking your nose un- asked,  into other peoples business!  Well I suppose that if they were writing a diary it was meant to be seen eventually, though I’m told Pepys never intended his to be seen and deciphered. Mmm..pull the other one. 😉 These three problems have been perplexing me for a while and I have been  trying hard to get to the < ahem> bottom of them. 🙂

Samuel Pepys...the old lecher...

Anyway, in his diary he mentions a perspective, a trompe l’oeil deception by Hoogstraten which he saw when visiting his Uncle’s London House, in Lincolns Fields. This consisted of a box like cabinet with a peephole     ( No it’s NOT one of those ), which gives the illusion of a three dimensional room should you look into it. This book had an illustration of it. The first I had seen and it cleared up nicely the question of how it was done.

Hoogstraten's perspective box with the front removed.

The second reference was from the diary of a customer of Rembrandt’s, about a picture which he had acquired after the Great Man’s death. Girl Leaning on a window Ledge. It doesn’t sound very exciting. Indeed the picture is a bit……well….yes…un- exciting. Here it is.

Girl leaning on a window ledge. The Maidservant illusion mentioned by many, from Rembrandt's house.

We are told by Rogier de Piles ( that’s Pee-les..not  hemorrhoids)
who eventually bought the painting that:

“Rembrandt diverted himself one day by making a portrait of his servant in order to exhibit it at his window and deceive the eyes of the pedestrians. He succeeded because the deception was only noticed a few days later. It was not beautiful drawing, nor a noble expression which produced this effect. One does not look for these qualities in his work. While in Holland I was curious to see the portrait. I found it painted well and with great strength. I bought it and still exhibit it in an important position in my cabinet”

Could this deception fool the 21st century viewer today? I doubt it but it obviously worked in the 17th century.

This book not only showed me the picture but told me, at last that it now resides in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I must go and see it if only  for its fame  in trompe l’oeil lore.

Now we come to my best and last discovery.

A while back I mentioned that I had stumbled upon, quite by accident I have to say; one of those happy  happenstances which turn up now and again when you are ploughing through dull, dusty and dry information on your chosen subject, a dummy board which had been attributed to one of the very first makers of the art form, Cornelis Bisschop in the early 17th century. I needed to verify that this was indeed a possibility and that the dummy board was still around. The figure was once owned by a very eminent London antique dealer whose speciality is the 17th century. This book was supposed to contain the information and a photo. We know this, as the very dummy board, it appeared, had been shown as part of this Deceptions and Illusions exhibition in the U.S. I have spoken about this  figure before in Every Dog Has its Day.

Hence the rather large and unwieldy book.

Those of you who find this sort of detective work boring….can go and make a cup of tea now….. 🙂

“Young Boy asleep in a high chair” exhibited in Washington, proved, alas, to be by Verspronck { a find in itself as it is the only known foray of this, primarily portrait artist, into the world of dummy boards. }

But oh how like the claimed Bisschop it is. So now I have two young boys in high chairs.

Here are the two side by side.

The second boy but this one ( so they say) by Verspronck...just LOVE that name....

The supposed Bisschop

We do know that these are pictures of boys because of the flat and wide angular collars they are wearing. These were never it’s said, worn by girls. In the second picture the one by Verspronck, the child has lost a shoe. Apparently the artist would never have painted a girl with a missing shoe. No doubt some long gone artistic and social  rule. { I do know that the shoe is a euphemism in English folklore, hence all those references in Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Stories to shoes and slippers.} Use your imagination -but if you can’t -and  you really want to know what for…you will have to email me off blog!

I love the porridge dripping over the edge of the rail and the cat’s expression, rather world weary don’t you think?

Both these dummy boards are in private collection.

Did I say two?

There is a third for which I  have a black and white illustration. This one lives in a museum in Holland. It’s slightly different in that the child wears a distinctive headdresss/hat which is padded so that if the he/she fell on those pristine tiled floors the Dutch had at the time, they wouldn’t hurt themselves. The high chair is also rather grand with a fancy top and painted decoration.

As the photo I have is sadly only in black and white, I painted a water colour to remind me of how it looked. The little lad, ( I say that but this one might be a girl)  in this one, is wide awake.

Boy in High Chair Dutch 17th c. water colour by Sue

So despite all my work, I’m not really very much further on. I just have one more example.

Ah well…that’s how it is in ‘research’. At least we have established that the dummy board of a child in a high chair is an accepted dummy board pattern. One that is repeated over and over-as many dummy boards are.

I suspect Bisshopp may have been the first one.

I suppose, teacher might give me a silver star…( if only for tackling *The Book *), but on my report they will have written.”must try harder”.


All the Kings Men


We mentioned a soldier dummy board in the last post.

Once upon a time they were one of the most commonly seen dummy boards around.

Why on earth would that be?

Let’s take a visit to Chelsea…..{ especially for Sally,  } and see what we can find out.

What are we going to wear for a trip on the river?

Well it will be quite chilly ( there is always a breeze on the Thames ) so it will be advisable to take a cloak and hat, one we can jam on our head well as we don’t want to lose it to the murky waters. Goodness knows what ends up in the river Thames these days.

However, as we have been invited to visit the King, Charles the Second’s newest project, the Hospital at Chelsea, and we might just bump into the Fine Folk as they parade around, we need to be suitably dressed underneath. So here we are in our finest for about 1680.

The King- a PastMastery figure 3 ft after a fashion plate of 1680

A 3ft. PastMastery dummy board after a fashion plate of 1680

We will be rowed there from one of the many water

A Thames Watermen in his ( later) Doggets uniform

steps around the city, by the Thames Watermen, noted for their bad language and rudeness. We are used to it and take no notice. As long as we pay our penny at the end of the journey, they are harmless. They like a good leer at a pretty cleavage though, so we shall keep our cloak firmly tucked in around us.

Off we go with our ‘man’ swearin’ and cursin’ at other boats, at the Thames Lightermen ( bargees who ferry goods and not people up and down the river ) with whom the Watermen have a long standing feud,  and at just about anything  they care to take their tongue to. The Flat Landers are a particular topic of the day.

Boy!…. I thought I knew some invective…but this is an education! 🙂

” Their minds are like a soup dish…wide and shallow” and ” They are little men…and that’s their farce. Their brains are too near to their a***….are  a couple of the more printable quips! 🙂

Founded in 1682 by King Charles II and intended for the ‘succour and relief of veterans broken by age and war’, the Royal Hospital, with its Grade 1 listed buildings, still serves its original purpose in the 21st century. But here in the 17th…it’s a series of building projects and waste ground.

The Royal Hosptial Chelsea

Chelsea is a nice little village. The name means a landing place for boats and that is just what it is as we step ashore, minding the mud and debris at the edge of the water. They have managed to build a water stair, probably because the King regularly comes here and the dainty regal feet are not allowed to be wet and cold!

The place is laid out very nicely. There will be lawns, arbours and flower beds and the buildings will be, from what we can see, very grand indeed. Sir Christopher Wren is leading the proceedings but he isn’t here today. There was a building already on the site and this is to be incorporated into the new building. Are there any soldiers….? No not yet….just builders.

Well then…we shall have to fast forward ( as we can on these virtual history tours) to 1692, for then there were 400 pensioners living in the hospital.

A rare 19th century advertsing figure 18 inches, of a Chelsea Pensioner, probably used on a shop counter top. Private collection in the U.K.

The dress was slightly different than the one we can see to this day. They wore the scarlet coat, slightly more full and waisted, of course and the tricorne hat but the trousers would have been knee breeches with socks. This was their ceremonial dress- they would have been found in everyday clothes too.

We look around for some soldiers. PAH! They are all old crumblies…..where are the real life, full blooded Men of War?

We are getting a little peckish. Shall we see if we can find a hostelry hereabouts that might serve us a cool ale? We walk a short distance into the village.

What’s this we can see?

A Grenadier from the early 18th c. (Morier)

Another soldier is leaning nonchalantly on the door post just inside the Inn. He is a staggering 7 foot tall with his musket.  😉

An early 18th century Grenadier in the " at ease" position. { Mmmm 🙂 } Clandon House Surry

We offer up a ” Good Day Sir ” . No answer.

Maybe he has been deafened by the roar of the cannon. < LOUDER! > “GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR!”

Pah…ignorant square basher! They’re all the same!

Early 18th century grenadier. It was said that these wer used as recruitment figures, but it can't be proven. Clandon House Surrey U.K.

Here is another one as we walk into the pub. Slightly different uniform. Same size.

Ohh….How foolish we are. It’s   A DUMMY BOARD, of course.  Hard to tell in the gloom of the doorway and the passage. But what are they doing here?

” Excuse me Sir…”

We are looking a real soldier in the eye here and it pays to be polite…. ” Can you tell us what you are doing with these cut out figures?”

The soldier draws himself up to his full height.

Which is considerable ( for the age ).

He is over six foot ,when most men hover around the 5 foot 6 mark and ladies are mostly to be found under five foot four. We are ladies and delicate , fine creatures, all of us and are rather intimidated by this fine figure of manhood. *< blush>*

” Certainly Maam….we are recruiting for his Majesty’s army and our figures are there to encourage the taller young men in the area to enlist in his glorious name, to go and fight the pesky Cheese Eaters in that God Forsaken flat land full of water over the Channel” ( The Dutch…alas…)


So, these are adverts. They are huge because…well they look good huge and only the tallest men are to be encouraged to join. The uniforms are that of Grenadiers…the latest fashion in the army..the newest edition.

” I read, Sir” says I ” that His Majesty has a new weapon, called a Gren- ade..they must be a fearful tool”

“Indeed” said the soldier, ” I have a mention of it here in the newspaper”

“ Now are brought into service a new sort of soldiers called Grenadiers who are dextrous in flinging hand grenadoes, every one having a pouch full”  ( Dairies of Evelyn )

“ I went to Greenwich where his Majestie was trying divers grenadoes shot out of canon….they brake not till they hit the mark…” said my soldier proudly. ” I , Madam, am a Gren- a- dier”

” Oh” we simper, ” How very terrifying. Do you have many of these figures?”

” Many of them Good Lady, scattered around the country. Wherever His Majesty needs soldiers.”

He smiles winningly.

” Come Maam” said the Grenadier” Take a glass with me and I will show you my pouch, I promise you, you will not be disappointed…!”

With an offer like that..what is a girl to do? 😉

The Canons Ashby Grenadier. National Trust. Over 7 ft to the tip of his bayonet!

Next Post…. what happens next!

Replica 18th c. Grenadier's pouch etc. Well.....what else did you think we meant? 🙂

( Apologies to the Dutch…we were at war with them at this time and were less than kind when speaking of them). Particularly Thames Water men…..;)