Thursday, 1 April 2010

Duc de Lauzun

His full name was Armand-Louis de Gontaut, Duc de Lauzun. He was an extraordinary personality, a popular courtier, a romantic lover, and a fearless warrior. He was a wealthy man, proprietor of the Volontaires-étrangers de Lauzun, or Lauzun's Legion with which he served King Louis in North-America. We know of at least three different uniforms that he wore there, all more or less flamboyant. But most probably he had about ten of them with him on campaign overseas. 
Trumbull's painting of Cornwallis' surrender shows him in the row of French generals to the right, with high hussar's busby with golden cap strings, red bag, and the typical high white and black plume. This was the gift of a lady at Versailles!
I was glad when I discovered him among Perry's "French High Command" figures. He is wearing one of the most splendid uniforms. With lots of golden lace. As they would have said in the German navy about their admirals: a plain golden uniform with blue stripes. In this case with blue, red, and white stripes.
The problem with the figure is, however, that the plume is not positioned at the right side of the busby, and that the cords were omitted. I left the plume where it was. Otherwise I would have had to saw it off, drill holes into fur cap and plume, insert a wire and glue it into the right place. Or even make a completely new higher plume. The cords I made, though, with the help of a bit of thin wire and some painter's surfacer. The result does not accurately correspond to the picture. But the general impression is alright, I think.
The uniform actually is that of an officer of his Legion on parade, as depicted by Eugene Leliepvre in his publication about the Legion (Edition Hussard du Marais, Paris). Only that the Duke's plume is different. I have altered the drawing accordingly.