Tuesday, May 31, 2011

French Military Biographies

Among the many subjects covered by the Chicksands Collection is Military Biography and this volume is one of the more splendid in the French section.

Gaston de Raimes (1859-1917) wrote a number of military histories, his most famous being the 3-volume set of Soldats de France: Actions Heroiques and a single volumes of Les Marins de France. Soldats de France is illustrated by Henri Pille.

Charles Henri Pille (1844-1897), French painter and illustrator, was especially known for his line drawings and contributed to a number of volumes published during the late 19th century. The first volume of Soldats, Generaux de la republique, demonstrates the wonderful pen and ink drawings of Pille and the binding is an excellent example of the gilt decorative binding of that time period.

The many generals and commanders in this volume present a wide range of French military persuasions. For instance, Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez (1739-1823), pictured above, shared the victory at Valmy with General Francois Christophe Kellermann. Later, however, Dumouriez deserted from the Revolutionary Army, after failing to prevent the execution of Louis XVI in 1793. He fled to the Austrians and served with various continental armies before settling in Britain. Years after his death, his role as an advisor to the British as they fought Napoleon was revealed.

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