Homage to Pommerania
Posted by Martin on April 11, 2011
It’s time to unveil what else has been lurking on my painting desk lately. The limelight has been hogged by Westphalia but alongside a commission for that Prussian province, I’ve also been quietly chipping away at another commission for a different province: a small set of figures representing troops of the 2nd Prussian line infantry regiment (AKA the 1st Pommeranian infantry regiment).
For those of you interested in uniformology, one of the Richard Knötel plates provides good coverage (Band XXIII, Plate 16) but it’s a rather rare one and I don’t have a digital version I can share. Another good source of information is Peter Bunde’s Brigade Uniform Plate 142. Unlike the reserve and landwehr infantry, the line infantry regiments’ uniform details are relatively straightforward. The uniform for the 1st Pommeranian infantry regiment followed the standard Prussian line infantry pattern with white being the distinctive provincal colour used for cuffs and collars. The shoulder straps for this regiment are also white because it is the first (i.e. most senior) regiment from the province.
The picture here shows my work-in-progress on a drummer and this is the one figure in the batch that has given me some difficulties in terms of historical accuracy. There are two problems that I’ve had to tackle: the shoulder swallow’s nests and the drum hoops. As you can see, I’ve already plunged in on the shoulder swallow’s nests. Normally, these are in the provincal colour with white piping but the hard to answer question was what should happen when the provincial colour is also white? I was faced with a choice of two options – to do everything white or to follow what is shown in Stephen Summerfield’s excellent book Prussian Regular & Guard Infantry 1808-1840 Vol 1: Line & Guard 1808-1814 which depicts a musician of the regiment with red-piped-white shoulder swallow’s nests. I’ve no reason to doubt Stephen’s research and he claims his illustration is after Herbert Knötel (though I’d be interested to know which specific plate). So red and white it is!
That still leaves me with a dilemma over the drum hoops. I’m fairly confident that they, too, would have been red and white but sources conflict on the matter of pattern. Some indicate alternate dog’s teeth triangles while others suggest alternate diagonal stripes. Luckily, this will be almost the last part of the figure I paint, so there’s time yet to come up with an answer. Can any of you point me at a reliable source? In the worst case, I’ll pick Peter F’s brains at Salute next weekend.